Alhaji Gani Galadima, announced that her party – the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) will instead support the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari re-election.In a statement released Thursday (24 January) she said she was stepping aside from “to help build a coalition to defeat” the two main contenders – incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari ruling All Progressives Congress and main challenger Atiku Abubakar’s and his People’s Democratic Party. The elections are slated for 16 February. By Friday, in a separate statement, she also added that she was terminating her membership of the ACPN all together, But soon after, the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said Dr Ezekwesili could not withdraw from the race – which s just 3 weeks away. According to a local report quoting
NEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi: “The Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections, the last day for withdrawal by candidates or replacement of withdrawn candidates by political parties was 17th November, 2018 for Presidential and National Assembly Elections…Therefore, the deadline for Ezekwesili or any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.”The situation is still developing. Ezekwesili, who only announced her candidacy in October 2018, explains that her decision to withdraw from the race, is also prompted by an examination of the country’s electoral environment sequel to the 2019 presidential debate of Saturday, 19 January, 2019. “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 APC and PDP in the forthcoming elections,” she said in the statement adding: “It is my ardent belief that this broad coalition for a viable alternative has now become more than ever before, an urgent mission for and on behalf of Nigerian citizens. I have therefore chosen to lead the way in demonstrating the much needed patriotic sacrifice for our national revival and redirection. I wish to state that over the past three months, I have been in private, but extended talks with other candidates to birth a coalition that would allow Nigerians to exercise their choice without feeling helplessly encumbered by the evil twins of APC and PDP.” “My commitment to this promising political recalibration has been consistent and in consonance with my agreement, at the request of candidates under the Presidential Aspirants Coming Together (PACT) arrangement in 2018, when I consented to supervise the internal selection process as an outside observer passionate about building an alternative force,” says the former World Bank Vice President for Africa and ex Nigerian Education Minister who is also renown for her activism in the Bring Back Our Girls campaign.