Nigeria’s front runner and female presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) Dr Oby Ezekwesili has stepped down from the 2019 Presidential race.
Ezekwesili made the announcement in a surprise early morning tweet on Thursday 24 January. She said she was stepping down from the presidential race to “focus on helping to build a Coalition for a viable alternative to the #APCPDP in the 2019 general elections”.
The former World Bank boss and founder of Bring Back Our Girls movement entered the presidential race rather late, in October 2018 but quickly pushed her way through a crowded space of 71 presidential contestants to become a credible third force, an alternative political movement to the dominant ruling party APC and main opposition PDP.
Here is her full statement
“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 #APCPDP 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 #APCPDP.
“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!”
Her decision appear to receive positive reviews by the public who although was excited by her candidacy and the solutions she put on the table for Nigeria’s troubled political economy, nonetheless believes that she does not have the structures to deliver victory to her in Nigeria’s chequered political landscape.
Speculations are rife as to which of the camps Ezekwesili will now pitch her tent with with many speculating and expressing the hope that she partners with Prof. Kingsley Moghalu and his new Young Progressives Party which won undisputably on all online polls taken during the NEDG presidential debate on Friday 18 January 2019.