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Ezekwesili: INEC’ will not recognise any withdrawal or replacement of candidates

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…As Sowore expressed readiness to withdraw from race

Obiora Ifoh, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has said that the commission will not recognise any withdrawal or replacement of candidates by political parties with less than one month to the general election.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi while reacting to the withdrawal of Oby Ezekwesili from the presidential race, said “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and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections, the last day for withdrawal by candidates or replacement of withdrawn candidates by political parties was 17th November, 2018 for Presidential and National Assembly Elections.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.

Ozioma Ubabukoh, the spokesperson of the Obiageli Ezekwesili Presidential Campaign Organisation in a press statement Thursday morning announced that the former Minister of Education was quitting the race.

According to the statement, the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) will now devote her time “to help build a coalition to defeat the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 16, 2019 election”.

It is still unclear who the former minister of education will support, but she previously tried to get the trio of Kingsley Moghalu, Omoyele Sowore and Fela Durotoye to agree on a consensus candidate among themselves.

Similarly, the presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) Fela Durotoye has expressed readiness to step down for either Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) or Kingsley Moghalu, presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), if a transparent process to select a consensus candidate produces someone other than himself.

Durotoye who said this on Thursday in response to the withdrawal of Oby Ezekwesili, presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), from the race, “I have always believed that leadership is about service and sacrifice and today, I would like to commend Dr. (Mrs) Oby Ezekwesili for leading the charge to forming a viable coalition to presenting a Consensus Candidate for the 2019 Presidential elections,” he said.

“To ensure that an alliance is formed and we present a united front, I AM READY to come into any coalition talks with my brothers Omoyele Sowore and Prof. Kingsley Moghalu and to submit myself to any transparent process that will help us arrive at a selection of a Consensus Candidate from amongst us.

“To be clear, if the process produces any other candidate apart from myself, I AM READY to support whoever the consensus candidate is and to do all I can to support the coalition to win the 2019 Presidential elections for our generation.

“Once again, I implore the frontline candidates in our generation. Let us come together and seize this historic window of opportunity for our generation to select one of us to go ahead of us … so that ALL OF US can come together and speak with one voice at the 2019 General Elections. Together, we can do the perceived impossible. Our generation is depending on us. We must not let them down.”

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