Nigeria: NCP recognition refused

The Nigerian electoral commission (INEC) has refused recognition to the National Conscience Party, the radical party led by Gani Fawehinmi. This is an attempt to prevent it taking place in the coming round elections for every position from the Local Governments up to the Presidency.

This type of manoeuvre is not new in Nigeria. In the early 1980s the larger, more radical faction of the PRP was excluded from elections in favour of a smaller, pro-capitalist split off.

Members of the Democratic Socialist Movement, the Nigerian affiliate of the Committee for a Workers’ International, have been active in building the NCP since its inception and the DSM General Secretary, Segun Sango, is also Chair of the NCP in Lagos State.

One of the very first public responses came on Saturday June 22 from the southwest leadership of NCP which stated that it was "meeting when the news came that INEC has refused to register the NCP and has gone ahead instead to register three ’new’ political parties which for all practical purposes and intents share similar self-serving interests with the existing political parties.

"The southwest leadership of NCP rejects and condemn the INEC undemocratic announcement of non-registration of NCP as an attempt to scuttle the present democratic experiment.

"We observe that the existing parties with those just announced are identical in outlook and united in corruption.

"INEC’s move is like leaving the masses stranded in the democratic struggle. An attempt to deny the masses of democratic rights ….

"We reiterate that the formation and membership of a political party is a non-negotiable constitutional right of all Nigerians of voting age.

"No serious political party needs furniture or any equipment as a pre-condition for expressing valid and genuine political opinions. The South-West leadership of NCP therefore calls on INEC to depart from its elitist, monetised approach on party formation and allow NCP to contest the forthcoming local government and other subsequent elections. …

"Should INEC fail to yield to this voice of reason, the South-West leadership of NCP hereby call on the National Executive Council of NCP to use all legal, political and democratic means at its disposal including public rallies, demonstrations and protests to ensure the registration of the party for participation in forthcoming elections.

"We are very convinced that victory shall ultimately be ours, sooner than expected by the enemies of the people who have constituted themselves as obstacle to the progress and aspirations of the masses.

"Finally, we urge our members to remain steadfast and not to allow themselves to be distracted from the central goal of building the NCP as an instrument capable of capturing political power for effective abolition of mass poverty in all ramifications."

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June 2002