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26 January 2007
Faced with threats that its democratically chosen candidates would not be able to stand in April's elections, the Lagos State chapter of the National Conscience Party (NCP) held a rally in front of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office at Yaba, Lagos State, on Thursday, January 25, 2006.
Dagga Tolar read the press text (see below) on behalf of the Lagos NCP executive, NCP candidates, and the general members, to members of the press who were in attendance from about 10 media establishments.
The theme of the press text was: "Calling On INEC Not To Be Part Of Illegality". This event was used to throw more light on the internal crisis rocking the NCP, exposing crucial issues such as: (1) the unconstitutional attempt to impose a new gubernatorial candidate and a new executive council on the Lagos NCP through a so-called 'unity congress' staged by the Obayuwana grouping now running the NCP nationally. (2) the heroic resistance of the real Lagos NCP against the antics and tendencies of the destructive Obayuwana-led NEC and its cronies. (3) The reconciliation efforts made by Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the NCP's founder, to unite the NCP as we move towards the 2007 general elections.
NCP members held placards with bold inscriptions such as: "Buyers beware! NCP is not for sale", "Obafunwa the Americana is not our guber candidate", "INEC! Don't be part of this monumental fraud", "Omoragbon, Selfpikin, Obafunwa are agents of destabilization", "INEC verification exercise is unconstitutional", "Segun Sango-led exco remains the authentic NCP leadership in Lagos!", "Obayuwana, Falana! Respect the party constitution", "Opportunists steer clear! Don't take NCP for a ride!", "Lanre Arogundade is Lagos NCP guber candidate!", "Lagos NCP will not condone unconstitutional and illegal tendencies!", " Obayuwana-led NEC don't sell NCP!"
All together about 25 NCP comrades were at this rally carrying NCP flags, banners and placards with chants of solidarity songs. Some overzealous INEC security operatives raised objections to the display of NCP flags and banners in front of the INEC office, which led to series of arguments. After being embroiled in the arguments we finally moved to the other side of the road in front of the INEC office where the press conference/ rally was eventually held.
The press conference/ rally finally kicked off at about 11: 30 am with solidarity songs after which the press text was read to the journalists present from various media establishments, while members engaged in the display of banners, flags and placards. Some journalists from print and electronic media later granted interviews to Dagga and the Lagos NCP vice chairman (baba ko gbo oyinbo) who spoke in Yoruba to LTV and Radio Lagos.
Dagga, Keshinro and another comrade later went into the INEC premises to deliver a copy of the press text to the INEC chairman which was received by the administrative secretary on his behalf with a promise to pass it over to the chairman. He also acknowledged the receipt of the petition earlier written and delivered to INEC by the Lagos NCP on January 15, 2007. They thanked us for our orderly conduct during the rally and promised to look into our petition speedily.
The event was well relayed on TV by MBI and LTV at their news broadcasts later in the evening.
Gathered here today to address this press conference/rally are local government chairpersons and secretaries, candidates standing in various offices in the forth-coming 2007 general election in Lagos State and members of the Lagos State Executive Council of the National Conscience Party (NCP).
This press conference/rally has become imperative on our part so as to put the record straight on the raging controversies in the National Conscience Party in recent time, especially bothering on the question of the illegal congress that chose one American based Mr. Christopher Bankole Obafunwa as the gubernatorial candidate of the Lagos State NCP and the purported dissolution of the State Executive Council of the National Conscience Party (NCP) led by Barr. Segun Sango.
We wish to inform the public and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the Lagos State NCP has elected its gubernatorial candidate who is still Comrade Lanre Arogundade in a duly and legally constituted special congress, which was held on December 16, 2006 at the Women Development Centre (WDC), Agege, Lagos State.
The congress that elected comrade Lanre Arogundade followed strictly all relevant sections of the NCP constitution such as article 6.1.1, 6.1.2, 6.1.3, which are as follows:
6.1.1: "The State Congress shall be the highest organ of the Party at the State level"
6.1.2: "It shall be composed of members of the State Coordinating Council and a proportional number of delegates per Local Government membership of the Party. The State Executive Committee shall decide the number of delegates to represent each Local Government".
6.1.3: "The State Congress shall exercise at the State level powers similar to those of the National Congress and shall conduct its activities in the same manner as stipulated in this Constitution in respect of the National organ".
The congress has in attendance the INEC representative, Mr. Akinwunmi Akinbohun and also the founding National Chairman, Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
Besides, the nomination form of Comrade Lanre Arogundade was respectively submitted by the National General Secretary, Mallam Yinusa Tanko at the INEC National Headquarter, Abuja, in the company of Comrade Demola Yaya, the Lagos State Research and Mobilisation Director.
Furthermore, the Segun Sango-led NCP Lagos State Executive Council, which has the power to decide the number of delegates to represent each local government in line with Article 6.1.1 and which is also part of the State Coordinating Council that make up the congress was elected in September 18, 2004 and has a mandate to be in power for 3 years, which will expire in September 2007. The Lagos State NEC derives its mandate from Article 9.1.1 which states that "All elected officers of the Party shall hold office for a period of 3 years after which they will be eligible for re-election subject to the possibility of recall or removal of officers on the conditions stipulated in article 4.1.3.
To also state clearly that, members of the party in Lagos state were not part of the illegal congress that chose the American based Mr. Christopher Bankole Obafunwa as the NCP gubernatorial candidates in Lagos state, which was organized by the opportunistic Obayuwana-led right wing NEC on February 13, 2007 at the sky power ground Ikeja. The "congress" did not meet any of the party's constitutional requirement and as such his candidature is illegal, unconstitutional and most fraudulent.
We wish to alert the public and INEC that Mr. Christopher Bankole Obafunwa is not a member of the NCP in Lagos as the Lagos state NCP is yet to receive his application form let alone emerging as the party's gubernatorial candidate in Lagos state.
Even if the Lagos State NCP concedes that the party's National Secretary has the mandate under the present bureaucratic Electoral law to submit names to INEC and substitute same, the names to be submitted or substituted must emanate from a process that is strictly in line with all relevant provisions of the party's constitution.
We hereby call on INEC not to be part of this illegal, unconstitutional and fraudulent process that was initiated by the opportunistic Obayuwana-led right wing National EXCO and characters like Femi Falana and other opportunist backers.
We also state that, should INEC go ahead to substitute the illegal candidature of Mr. Bankole Obafunwa for the legally elected candidature of Comrade Lanre Arogundade to run for the 2007 general election, the Lagos NCP will have no option other than to initiate all legal, constitutional and political means within our power to reverse this fraud.
We wish to state that in our previous letter to INEC, which was dated January 15, 2007, we had earlier informed and alerted INEC of the illegal dissolution of the Segun Sango-led NCP leadership in Lagos and a kangaroo congress that "replaced" it
The tenure of the present Lagos State Executive Council of the NCP, headed by Comrade Segun Sango, will not end until September 2007. The leadership was elected by a properly convoked state congress of the party on September 18, 2004 in compliance with the National Secretariat's directive to that effect and in preparation for the National Convention of September 25, 2004. A representative of INEC also attended the September 18, 2004 congress.
The fact that the leadership of Mr. Segun Sango still subsists is further buttressed by Article 9.1.1 of the NCP constitution which states that "All elected officers of the Party shall hold office for a period of 3 years after which they will be eligible for re-election subject to the possibility of recall or removal of officers on the conditions stipulated in article 4.1.3 (b) of this constitution".
The Kangaroo Congress that was organized by the opportunistic Obayuwana-led NEC leadership did not follow the relevant provisions of the party's constitution particularly articles 6.1.1, 6.1.2 and 6.1.3 which have been precisely stated above.
It is on the above note that we publicly reject the shady characters that was illegally installed as Lagos State EXCO by the Obayuwana-led national leadership on January 13, 2007 at the sky power ground Ikeja. We equally make bold to state that the kangaroo congress is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void, and without effect.
On this note, we, members of the party in Lagos state shall continue to relate only with the legally recognized Segun Sango-led executive council until its tenure expires, and would only be part of a duly constituted congress that follows strictly the provisions of the party constitution.
We also call on the founding National Chairman of the party in the person of Chief Gani Fawehinmi to not also allow all his years of hard work to go to waste, we must collectively join hands to expose these characters for what they are. This explains why majority of party members were opposed to the resignation of Chief Gani Fawehinmi as National Chairman of the party. By that singular act, the NCP NEC is presently peopled by persons who originally should be in the ruling political parties like the PDP, AD, AC, ANPP.
That explains why Shehu Sanni, a former NEC member of the NCP is today Senior Personal Assistant to Obasanjo. Many of them in the NEC would do anything to wear the same shoe with Shehu Sanni. How do you explain that in the congress of the party held in Lokoja in January 2006, Peters Omoragbon, the former Financial Secretary was unanimously turned down and voted out as unfit to be a national officer of the party, given the fact that he had not been active in any of the States and could not get endorsement from the State he claimed to be active in, which led to his subsequent desperation to get endorsement from other States. The Obayuwana led NEC had shamefully and illegally brought him through the back door to become the South-South Deputy National Chairman even when in all his party life he has resided in Lagos, and has remain inactive as a member of the NCP. This show of desperation to liquidate the party is also the reason why the Obayuwana-led right wing leadership went ahead to endorse General Buhari as its party presidential flag bearer for the 2007 general election without any endorsement by the NCP members in a properly constituted congress or convention.
We also wish to inform the public that these characters that make up the NEC have not been building the party in their respective states, but in the quest to hand over the party to the highest bidder, the Obayuwana-led right wing leadership have employed measures geared towards beheading the Lagos State NCP like they did in Ogun State, because of its opposition against the outright sale of the party.
We, members of the Lagos State NCP hereby call on these liquidators and undertakers of the NCP like Femi Falana, Peter Omoragbo, the Obayuwana-led NEC leadership and their agents to henceforth stop all anti-party activities, including all illegal and fraudulent activities within the party, or else, we will be forced to engage them both politically and legally while we also warn that INEC should not be part of their orchestrated fraud.