By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected the withdrawal of the presidential candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Obi Ezekwezili, from the February 16, 2019 presidential election.
Ezekwezili Thursday revealed that she was stepping aside from the presidential race to help build a coalition to defeat the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement issued by the spokesperson of her Presidential Campaign Organisation, Ozioma Ubabukoh, Ezekwesili was quoted as saying that her decision to withdraw from the race followed extensive discussions with Nigerians at home and the Diaspora.
According to her, the action is also prompted by an examination of the country’s electoral environment sequel to the 2019 presidential debate of Saturday, January 19, 2019.
Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said that it was impossible for any presidential candidate to withdraw now.
According to him, “It is impossible for any presidential candidate to withdraw from the race now. According to the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general election, the last day for withdrawal by candidates or replacement of withdrawn candidates by political parties was 17th November, 2018 for presidential and National Assembly elections.
“Therefore, the deadline for Ezekwesili or any candidate in that category to withdraw or be replaced has passed.”