You Can’t Withdraw Now, INEC Tells Ezekwesili

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is too late for any candidate to withdraw from contesting any position in the upcoming elections.

Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, Rotimi Oyekanmi, who stated this in a statement, 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and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections, the last day for withdrawal by candidates or replacement of withdrawn candidates by political parties was 17th November 2018 for Presidential and National Assembly Elections,” he said.

“The deadline for Ezekwesili or any candidate in that category to withdraw or be replaced has passed.”

Ezekwesili has in a statement issued on Thursday morning by the spokesperson for her Presidential Campaign Organisation, Ozioma Ubabukoh, said she took the decision after “extensive discussions with Nigerians at home and the Diaspora.”

According to her, the action was also prompted by an examination of the country’s electoral environment sequel to the 2019 presidential debate of Saturday, January 19, 2019.

The statement reads: “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 #APCPDP in the forthcoming elections.

“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 #APCPDP.

“While the deliberations continued, I never hesitated for a moment in my willingness and determination to sacrifice my candidacy in order to facilitate the emergence of the envisaged strong and viable alternative that Nigerians could identify with in our collective search for a new beginning.

“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 arrangement in 2018, when I consented to supervise the internal selection process as an outside observer passionate about building an alternative force.”

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