Home News Politics Oby Ezekwesili Presidential Race Withdrawal Saga

Oby Ezekwesili Presidential Race Withdrawal Saga

Oby Ezekwesili
Oby Ezekwesili

Punch Newspaper, Eniola Akinkuotu wrote: The Independent National Electoral Commission says it is too late for any candidate to withdraw from elections.

The Director, Voter Education, and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said this during a chat with our correspondent on Thursday.

Before that, Oby said:

“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 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 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!”

Oby Ezekwesili

It wasn’t long when “TheCable” announced that INEC has rejected her withdrawal. The report read thus: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is too late for any candidate to withdraw from contesting any position in the upcoming elections.

INEC said this while reacting to the withdrawal of Oby Ezekwesili as presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN)

Oby Ezekwesili announced her withdrawal on Thursday, saying she wanted to give room for a coalition against candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC).

But reacting via a statement, Rotimi Oyekanmi, chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, said November 17 was the last date for withdrawal.

The statement read: “It is impossible for any presidential candidate to withdraw from the race now.

According to the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections, the last day for withdrawal by candidates or replacement of withdrawn candidates by political parties was 17th November 2018 for Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

“The deadline for Ezekwesili or any candidate in that category to withdraw or be replaced has passed.”

Section 35 of the electoral act, which gives deadline from withdrawal from any election, states: “A candidate may withdraw his candidature by notice in writing signed by him and delivered by himself to the political party that nominated him for the election and the political party shall convey such withdrawal to the Commission not later than 45 days to the election.”

Now that wasn’t all, according to The Vanguard newspapers, ACPN denounces Ezekwesili’s withdrawal, aligns with Buhari.

The Allied Congress Party of Nigeria ACPN has angrily reacted to the withdrawal of its Presidential Candidate, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili from the February 16 Presidential Elections, saying the former Education minister only tried to use its platform to negotiate a ministerial position in the next political dispensation.

Addressing a news conference Thursday in Abuja, the party said Dr. Ezekwesili never consulted with the party before withdrawing from the race.

Those who addressed the press on behalf of the party were its National Chairman and running mate to Dr. Ezekwesili, Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima, National Secretary, Chief Paul Isamede, Deputy National Chairman, South, Otunba Bosun Omosule and his counterpart for the North, Alhaji Ibrahim Goronyo.

They said they received with consternation but not surprising Ezekwesili’s withdrawal which was to preempt the decision that the party would have reached after its meeting on Thursday.

“She only preempted the decision we would have reached today which was to withdraw her candidacy and give to somebody else.

“Our presidential nomination ticket is N10 million and expression of interest is N500, 000 but when she came she said she did not have money, that she only had N100,000 and because we wanted to encourage women, we gave her our platform”, said Mr. Galadima.

Consequently, the ACPN has declared it’s support for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress APC.

“The reason for calling this press conference is to let the world know about the presidential aspiration of Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, which in actual fact, is not the truth.

We have been put into confidence by several of her aides one of which is named lyinoluwa Aboyeji also known as Maureen, that she only wanted to use the platform of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria ACPN to negotiate to be Nigeria’s Finance minister.

This she did not deem fit to inform the party whose mandate she is holding.

“If you will observe, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, is the only presidential candidate who was so militant in her campaign without any tangible thing on the ground to indicate any seriousness in the prosecution of her campaign.

No campaign secretariat, billboard or great commitment on the ground to indicate any seriousness.

“It is on this ground that the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria ACPN is withdrawing support for her presidential aspiration and endorsing the second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari to take Nigeria to the next level.

“We also seek this medium to inform our former presidential candidate Dr. Ezekwesili to return to the party all the property in her possession especially the various donations that she has been receiving from all over the world.

Whatever she had received belongs to the party and we must render account to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC. So, it is mandatory.

We are aware of all the accounts she and her aides had opened for this election to which donations were made”, the party declared.

National Secretary, Chief Paul Isamede, on his part said Dr. Ezekwesili when confronted on why she was using the platform to raise money, she said; “she showed us a piece of paper and said there was $5000 in one account and then in another account, about N35 million in local donations and that if we wanted her to transfer it to the party’s account right away, she would do so.

That was over a month ago”.

Dr. Ezekwesili who was one of the 73 presidential candidates in next month’s election withdrew from the race, in a statement issued by the spokesperson for the Obiageli Ezekwesili Presidential Campaign Organization, Ozioma Ubabukoh.

Friday Olokor, of Punch Newspaper wrote:A former Minister of Education, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili, on Friday faulted the claims by the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria following her withdrawal from the presidential race, describing the allegations as lies.

Get glued to Akoko’s Blog as we bring more info to you.

Written by David Obiakor

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