The Nigerian presidential and senatorial elections are just a few weeks away; the date – if not changed like it was in 2015, has been set for February 16, 2019, and tensions are rising in what appears to be one of the most dramatic elections in the country’s history considering the events unfolding.
A few hours ago, Oby Ezekwesili, the leading female presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), has withdrawn from the February 16 presidential elections.
Mrs. Ezekwesili is a popular figure in the Nigerian polity and has held key roles like Minister of Education, Minister of Solid Minerals, Special Adviser to the president, for successive governments in the country.
She made her intentions to withdraw her candidacy from the race barely three weeks before the poll publicly know today. She said her decision was made to help build a coalition that will provide a viable alternative to the country’s two main political parties – The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili is the co-founder of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group, which was formed to raise awareness on the over 200 girls kidnapped by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram from their secondary school hostels in Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno, Nigeria in 2014.
She said on Twitter that she had been in talks for three months with other candidates about a coalition.
“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 2019 general,” said Ezekwesili in a tweet.
In a report, Premium Times, a Nigerian media agency, said they had received confirmation from an aide to Mrs. Ezekwesili, Ozioma Ubabukoh, that the statement was genuine.
"Yes, she has withdrawn. It is true. You can run with it," he had said.
A close associate of Mrs. Ezekwesili, Aisha Yusufu, also confirmed the withdrawal.
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Header Image Photo: Al Jazeera