FORMER presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, has said that she withdrew from the presidential race because the leadership of her political party was desperate to obtain money from foreign contacts.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, she said her decision to quit the race on January 24 was a tough but necessary one.
Ezekwesili appealed to her supporters for forgiveness and understanding of the situation.
She said: “It has been an interesting one week since I made the tough but necessary decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency. I have been truly overwhelmed by the reactions to my announcement from Nigerians. Even in airports outside the country as I travelled last week, Nigerians walked up to me with questions, concerns, encouragement, and motivation.
“I also saw disappointment by some who had poured their hearts and hopes into actualising our mission to #Fight4Naija, bring back hope to our land and lift 80 million fellow citizens out of extreme poverty.
“I ask for the forgiveness and understanding of all who are hurt by my withdrawal from the race even as I take comfort in the fact that they would agree with my choosing to stand with my values rather than compromise.
“Thank you to the young people who accepted and owned our campaign, to the women – my sisters and comrades – who worked and walked with me, to every believer and supporter from different tribes, states, religions and walks of life.”
The former Minister of Education also said that she was not surprised that the leadership of the ACPN hurriedly endorsed the candidature of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the coming presidential election.
Recall that the national chairman of ACPN and former running mate of Ezekwesili, Alhaji Gani Galadima, endorsed the re-election of President Buhari moments after Ezekwesili announced her withdrawal from the race.
Speaking on the Buhari endorsement, she noted: “You all saw how they demonstrated their preferred brand of politics by endorsing the ruling APC in a classic somersault. Deceptive politics of transactions at its worst! God forbade that I should be in any way participate in such.
“Their actions last week did not surprise me one bit. My relationship with the ACPN became problematic once they faced the reality of my modest financial means that I had transparently disclosed to them from the beginning. Their mistake was that they harboured two wrong assumptions about me.
“First, they assumed that I was one of those who served in government and had a stash of looted public funds hidden somewhere to expend on the elections. When they realised that was not the case, they made a second wrong assumption by believing that I would be willing to go and obtain foreign cash to prosecute my campaign.”