The leading female presidential aspirant for the February 2019 General Elections in Nigeria, Oby Ezekwesili of the ACPN, has withdrawn from the race to Aso Rock.
In a lengthy statement posted Friday, 24th January, 2019, on her Twitter account, the former Minister of Education cited the need for the other leading aspirants, besides the ruling APC and PDP, to come together and form a coalition that would be a ‘viable alternative to the APC and PDP in the 2019 elections’.
According to her, she has taken this decision in spite of disagreements within her party, the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) because she deemed it necessary to show by action and example her determination on the issue of coalition.
I have decided to step down from the presidential race and focus on helping to build a Coalition for a viable alternative to the #APCPDP in the 2019 general elections.
— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) January 24, 2019
The statement reads:
“Following the reactions of Nigerian citizens at home and abroad to the 2019 Presidential Debate held on Saturday 19 January 2019, and after extensive consultations with leaders from various walks of life across the country over the past few days, I have decided to step down from the presidential race and focus on helping to build a Coalition for a viable alternative to the APC and PDP in the 2019 general elections.
“This coalition for a viable alternative has now more than ever before become an urgent mission for and on behalf of the citizenry.
“Over the past three months, I have been in private extended talks with other candidates to make a coalition possible that would allow Nigerians to exercise choice without feeling helplessly saddled with the APC and PDP.
“In doing so, I have not hesitated to offer my willingness to step down my candidacy in order to facilitate the emergence of a strong and viable alternative behind which Nigerians can line up in our collective search for a new beginning.
“My commitment in this regard has been consistent and in consonance with my agreement, at the request of then aspirants under PACT in 2018, to supervise their internal selection process as an outside observer passionate about building this alternative force.
“Despite disagreements within the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria on these and other issues, I have decided that it is now necessary to show by action and example my determination on this issue by stepping down my candidacy and focusing on building the coalition once and for all.
“We have no right to allow citizens give in to despair. We will
#Fight4Naija together, and prove to all that the mess that has now become the political class will not be allowed to destroy our spirits and the nation.
“We are also determined to ensure that the message keeps resonating that our beloved country deserves better, and that if we are to get the best that we deserve, we must fight for it.
“From last year, I have made it clear to the nation that Nigeria has always had a 20 year cycle of change – 1959, 1979, and 1999.
“2019 begins another 20 year cycle, and together with all Nigerians of good will, I stand ready to play my part to ensure that we do not miss this opportunity to sing a new song. We have no more time to waste. Let’s get to work!
Ezekwesili had very early in her campaign referred to the presidential candidates of APC and PDP, Buhari and Atiku, as ‘Butiku’ – according to her, they were two sides of a bad coin, who, although, were in different parties shared the same philosophy.