Hours after Obiageli Ezekwesili stepped down from the presidential race, the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), her party, has denounced her and pledged its support for President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement signed by the party’s national chairman and running mate to Ezekwesili, Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima, the party said Ezekwesili, in fact, had no presidential aspiration but simply used the party to negotiate to be Nigeria’s finance minister.
“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.
“I have been put into confidence by one of her aides named lyinoluwa Aboyeji 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.”
The party insisted that she did not inform them of her decision to step down and had questioned her campaign strategy that lacked “any tangible thing on the ground to indicate any seriousness”.
“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.”
ACPN, thereafter, withdrew their support from Ezekwesili before endorsing the incumbent President Buhari of the All Progressives Congress for a second term.
“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.
Ezekwesili had told the Guardian in an exclusive interview last November that she joined the race because of the constant need for the masses to choose between the lesser evils.
“I never had interest in politics. Anyone who knows me knows that I detest politics,” she said. “But I had to get to the place where listening to the political class say to us that we have to choose the lesser of two evils got me infuriated.”
The former World Bank vice president for Africa in the announcement of her step down from the presidential race said that her decision came after “extensive consultations with leaders from various walks of life across the country”.
“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.”
She said she chose to step down despite disagreements within her party.
“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.”
The party also told their former presidential candidate to return to the party donations she has been receiving from all over the world. The secretary of the party, Paul Isamade, revealed that she told them she had received $5000 and N35 million in local donations.
“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 said.