FORMER Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has pulled out of the 2019 presidential race.
Ezekwesili, who was running on the platform of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACNP), made the announcement on Thursday morning via her Twitter handle.
She said she will now devote her time “to help build a coalition to defeat the All Progressives Congress and the People’s Democratic Party in the February 16, 2019 election”.
“This coalition for a viable alternative has now more than ever before become an urgent mission for and on behalf of the citizenry,” Ezekwesili stated.
“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.
“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 #APCPDP.
“We have no right to allow citizens give in to despair. We will #Fight4Naija 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.
“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!”
Before formally declaring to run for the presidency, Ezekwesili had founded a movement she termed ‘The Red Card Movement’ which, according to her, will work to ensure that neither the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) nor the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wins the 2019 general election.
Ezekwesili also served as an independent observer when some of the young presidential candidates tried to form a coalition. The candidates at the time included Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC), Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), among others.
The coalition failed after the candidates refused to accept Durotoye who had won the internal election held among the candidates.
It is not clear who Ezekwesili will be supporting now that she has pulled out of the race.