Former World Bank VP quits race for Nigeria’s Presidency

Oby Ezekwesili has pledged to form an opposition coalition to defeat the ruling party.
A man walks past a poster of ACPN (Allied Congress Party of Nigeria ) female presidential candidate Oby Ezekwesili in Kaduna, on January 17, 2019. – Oby Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education and co-founder of the NGO Transparency International, has become a figure in the #BringBackOurGirls movement, created in support of more than 200 high school girls from Chibok, kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014. (Photo by Sodiq Adelakun / AFP)

A former Vice President of the World Bank and ex-minister of education in Nigeria, Obiageli Ezekwesili has stepped down from the country’s presidential race holding in about three weeks. 

Ezekwesili had been wooing voters for the much-awaited February 16 polls but her supporters were shocked to learn early Thursday via a statement to News Central and other media that she had withdrawn from the race.

Spokesperson for the Obiageli Ezekwesili Presidential Campaign Organisation, Ozioma Ubabukoh, in the release quoted the ex-contestant as saying that her decision to withdraw from the race followed extensive discussions with Nigerians at home and the Diaspora.

Ezekwesili said the action is also prompted by an examination of the country’s electoral environment after the live televised presidential debate held last Saturday where she featured.
“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.

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She said “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.”

But a few hours after her statement, the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria or ACPN on whose platform she had been contesting distanced itself from her decision. 

Ezekwesili’s party chairman and vice presidential candidate, Ganiyu Galadima at a briefing told journalists that it was unaware of her withdrawal while accusing her of trading the party’s ticket for a future ministerial slot.

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