Oby Ezekwesili

Nigeria:Ezekwesili withdraws from presidential race, insists on coalition

By Olumide Ajayi

Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili on Thursday stepped aside from the presidential
race to help build a coalition to defeat the All Progressives Congress
and the People’s Democratic Party in the February 16, 2019 election.In a statement issued by the spokesperson for the Obiageli Ezekwesili
Presidential Campaign Organisation, Ozioma Ubabukoh, Ezekwesili was
quoted as saying that her decision to withdraw from the race followed
extensive discussions with Nigerians at home and the Diaspora.According to her, the action is also prompted by an examination of the
country’s electoral environment sequel to the 2019 presidential debate
of Saturday, January 19, 2019.“This decision followed extensive consultations with leaders from
various walks of life across the country over the past few days. I deem
it necessary for me to focus on helping to build a veritable coalition
to ensure a viable alternative to the #APCPDP in the forthcoming
elections,” the statement read.

She said, “It is my ardent belief that this broad coalition for a viable
alternative has now become more than ever before, an urgent mission for
and on behalf of Nigerian citizens. I have therefore chosen to lead the
way in demonstrating the much needed patriotic sacrifice for our
national revival and redirection.

“I wish to state that over the past three months, I have been in
private, but extended talks with other candidates to birth a coalition
that would allow Nigerians to exercise their choice without feeling
helplessly encumbered by the evil twins of #APCPDP.

“While the deliberations continued, I never hesitated for a moment in my
willingness and determination to sacrifice my candidacy in order to
facilitate the emergence of the envisaged strong and viable alternative
that Nigerians could identify with in our collective search for a new
beginning.

“My commitment to this promising political recalibration has been
consistent and in consonance with my agreement, at the request of
candidates under the Presidential Aspirants Coming Together (PACT)
arrangement in 2018, when I consented to supervise the internal
selection process as an outside observer passionate about building an
alternative force.”

Ezekwesili also said, “However, despite resistance from 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 so as to focus squarely on
building the coalition to a logical conclusion.

“We have no right to allow citizens give in to despair. We will
#Fight4Naija together and prove to all that the mess, which the
political class has now become, should not be allowed to destroy our
spirits and nation. We are also determined to ensure that the message
keeps resonating that our beloved country deserves better, and that we
will get the best that we deserve.”

She added, “From last year, when I joined the presidential race, I made
it clear to Nigerians that the country has always had a 20-year cycle of
change – 1959, 1979, and 1999. As such, 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 golden opportunity to
sing a new song.

“There is no more time to waste. Let’s get to work!”

Meanwhile, Ubabukoh thanked Nigerians, including campaign donors and
volunteers, who supported Ezekwesili, saying that “every money donated
to the campaign and funds spent will be accounted for in the coming
days.”

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