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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007, 11:58 GMT
'Corrupt' PDP candidates dropped
PDP rally in Nigeria
The PDP urged other parties to drop their blacklisted candidates
Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) says it will replace all 52 of its candidates who have been accused of corruption by the anti-graft agency.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) released a list of 135 politicians it alleges are too corrupt to run in April's elections.

Most prominent is Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, an opposition presidential contender, who rejects the accusations.

The PDP challenged other parties to drop their blacklisted candidates.

But opposition parties have criticised the list, saying it was biased against them.

The EFCC, which has been tasked with enforcing President Olusegun Obasanjo's war on corruption, has no powers to ban anyone from the presidential, parliamentary and state elections.

'Law-abiding'

"We have a list of 52 members on that EFCC list and as a law-abiding party, we cannot go ahead and field people who have been indicted," PDP spokesman John Odey told the BBC News website.

The BBC has seen an EFCC list with 53 PDP members on it - it is not clear why the party itself has a different number.

EFCC'S GRAFT LIST
Total: 135 candidates
Ruling PDP: 53 (includes 5 for governor)
AC: 27 (includes 1 presidential candidate; 5 for governor)
ANPP: 39 (includes 9 for governor)
Others: 19 (1 for governor, 12 MPs)
Source: EFCC

Five of them are candidates to be state governors, the rest are for the parliamentary election.

PDP leaders are meeting in the capital to discuss the EFCC list which is generating a lot of interest in the country.

Mr Abubakar, who has consistently denied corruption allegations, says he will sue for defamation.

A spokesman for Mr Abubakar dismissed the list as a "piece of cheap blackmail".

A founding member of the PDP, Mr Abubakar was forced out of the party after a bitter feud with President Obasanjo.

He is now running for the Action Congress (AC) party, but has been bogged down in court battles.

The main opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) says it will write to the EFCC to demand details of the corruption charges levelled against some of its candidates.

The anti-graft agency has denied accusations that it targets opponents of Mr Obasanjo, who steps down in April after two terms in office.


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