Just In: Oby Ezekwesili quits presidential race; insists on coalition to displace ‘APCPDP’

Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Dr Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili has withdrawn from the 2019 Presidential race.

A statement released by the former Minister of Education early Thursday, which was also shared in a series of tweets on her Twitter handle, revealed that she stepped down from the race to “focus on helping to build a Coalition for a viable alternative to the  in the 2019 general elections,” that would allow Nigerians to exercise choice without feeling helplessly saddled with the .

Here’s the 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 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 .

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 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!”

The decision by the former World Bank Vice President to support a coalition of alternative candidates that will challenge the country’s dominant parties; the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), whose candidates she has often made reference to in her campaigns as ‘Butiku,’ to mean that they are one and same, has been received with mixed reactions around the country, with many (especially among the youth) describing the withdrawal for the motive she mentioned as ill-timed.

It remains to be seen however who she will be endorsing for the nation’s top political office, having stepped out of the race.

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