The Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) has taken a contrary position on the reason for the withdrawal of its candidate, Obiageli Ezekwesili, from the 2019 presidential race.
Ezekwesili had announced her withdrawal from the race on Thursday morning, stating that her decision was based on her commitment to supporting other candidates against the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
At a news conference on Thursday in Abuja, leaders of the ACPN said Ezekwesili never consulted with the party before announcing her withdrawal from the race. The party also declared its support for the candidature of Presidential Muhammadu Buhari.
In attendance at the press conference were Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima, National Chairman and the ACPN vice-presidential candidate; Paul Isamade, the ACPN National Secretary; Bodun Omosule, Deputy National Chairman (South) and Alhaji Ibrahim Goronyo, Deputy National Chairman (North).
According to the party, Ezekwesili’s announcement was not surprising, as she only pre-empted the party’s decision to support another presidential candidate.
“She only pre-empted 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.
“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 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 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.”
Also speaking on the party’s decision, Isamade said: “She showed us a piece of paper and said there was $5,000 in one account and then in another account, about N35million 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”.