Udora Orizu in Abuja
Former presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has denied an allegation that she dumped her presidential quest following a promise to give her a ministerial appointment by either the All Progressives Congress (APC) or Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ezekwesili, at a press conference in Abuja yesterday described the allegation as the “height of political comedy”, wondering why she would go through the pains of launching a presidential campaign only “to negotiate for a role I last occupied twelve years ago and have thrice rejected since after.”
She also denied an allegation that she did not only raise but also looted her campaign donations, saying it was “only morally bankrupt politics that can make anyone even imagine such accusation against me.”
According to her, “The allegation was a desperate attempt by the ACPN leadership to slander her. Here are the facts that speak for themselves. Since I resigned as a cabinet minister in 2007, it is known that I have declined offers by different governments to serve as a minister again.”
“Such mud-raking tactics is the reason why our best minds abstain from offering themselves up for political office, thus leaving the worst of us to lead the rest. It won’t and can never stop me.
“My absolute dedication to public accountability is widely known and no matter how much we had hoped to raise as campaign support from the public, we designed an accounting system to go beyond the basic minimum of accountability required by the Electoral Act,” she said.
Reacting to the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that her withdrawal was of no effect given the timing, Ezekwesili said: “I acknowledge INEC’s position on the withdrawal of my candidacy. Based on the Electoral Act, the time has elapsed for withdrawal; so, the law still sees me as a presidential candidate.
“However, I have suspended my campaign and INEC’s position on my candidacy will have little effect. My lawyers have officially written to INEC in a symbolic gesture to make them aware of my separation from ACPN,” she said.
Ezekwesili asked for forgiveness and understanding from those she said believed in her dream for disappointing them by dumping her presidential ambition.
“I will work hard to ensure that those who would have voted for me, cast their votes instead for the consensus candidate who will hopefully emerge from the coalition of willing credible alternatives in the coming days. We need the break the belief of voting for the lesser evil, APC and PDP are one and the same and Nigeria needs a credible alternative,” she added.