Obiageli Ezekwesili, presidential candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), has described the allegations by Ganiyu Galadima, National Chairman of the party, that she was never really serious about her presidential ambition as "baseless".
Speaking through Ozioma Ubabukoh, her media aide, Ezekwesili described Galadima’s claim that she was contesting to negotiate to be Minister of Finance as a figment of his imagination.
The former Education Minister withdrew from the race on Thursday morning after “extensive discussions with Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora”, citing the need 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,” she had said. “I have therefore chosen to lead the way in demonstrating the much needed patriotic sacrifice for our national revival and redirection.”
However, Galadima, who was Ezekwesili’s running mate until she announced her withdrawal from the race, called a press conference during which he claimed the BringBackOurGirls activist never really wanted to be President but only wanted to use the position to negotiate for the position of Finance Minister.
He also said by withdrawing, Ezekwesili had only pre-empted the party’s decision to withdraw support for her, after which he announced the party’s decision to endorse President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid.
There were financial allegations as well, as Galadima said: “We also seek this medium to inform our former presidential candidate, Dr Ezekwesili, to return to the party all the property in her possession, especially the various donations that she has been receiving from all over the world. Whatever she had received belongs to the party and we must render account to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). So, it is mandatory. We are aware of all the accounts she and her aides had opened for this election to which donations were made.”
But reacting to the allegations, Ubabukoh said Galadima’s claims are baseless.
“The allegations are unfounded and a figment of his imagination,” he said. “Galadima has always been opposed to discussions concerning leading a coalition simply because of personal gains, rather than on national interest.”
He added that Ezekwesili will host a world press conference next week, where she would address the allegations raised by Galadima and state the way forward for the coalition movement.