Oby Ezekwesili, former presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), has debunked the allegations made against her by her party on her decision to withdraw from contesting in the 2019 elections.
Ezekwesili had announced her decision to step down from the presidential race on Thursday morning.
However, at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja, leaders of the ACPN said Ezekwesili never consulted with the party before announcing her withdrawal from the race. The party also declared its support for the candidature of Presidential Muhammadu Buhari.
Responding to her party's claims in a statement made available to SaharaReporters on Friday morning, Ezekwesili said she had to "sacrifice her candidacy to uphold her values".
She said by endoring the candidature of President Muhammadu Buhari on the same day she quit the race, the party leadership proven themselves the "classic political entrepreneurs" with a "transactional approach to politics".
The statement read: "Some hours ago, I arrived far flung Cabo in Mexico where our Albert Einstein’s Genius100 Visionaries meeting is holding. I was delighted to read reactions of real patriots to my announcement that I have decided to withdraw from the 2019 presidential race and end my membership of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN). I have also seen the reaction of ACPN leadership to my decision.
"Fortunately, they have divinely helped me by making the Nigerian public now fully understand why I had to swiftly depart from their midst. How could I upon realising the divergence of values and vision with the leadership of the party continue to stand on such a political platform? My abiding vision has been to mobilise citizens to disrupt the old order politics of APCPDP.
"Nigeria and Nigerians deserve a New Order of ethical, competent and capable leadership. I had earlier assumed the ACPN was aligned with me to offer that, until it proved otherwise. The values and vision divergence with the party was a key factor that triggered my withdrawal from the presidential race on their ticket prompting me to dissociate immediately in order to help build a coalition for Good Governance. It is why I was instant in sacrificing my candidacy to uphold my values by withdrawing.
"The party’s decision to immediately today endorse the candidate of APC, which was announced by my erstwhile VP candidate who is also the Chairman of ACPN was their classic political entrepreneurship in full display for Nigerians to see. It is instructive.
"The party leadership’s transactional approach to politics began to manifest in their attitude following after the convention that adopted me as their presidential candidate. All who know me can attest that I detest transactional mindset. I would have none of such and therefore extremely delighted to part ways after a tumultuous three months of hoping that the ACPN leadership would elevate to the new values of disruptive politics that one had desired for and preached within the party."
On the ACPN's statement made against her on mismanagement of campaign funds, she added: "I want Nigerians to know that there is NO IOTA of truth in any of them. Everything ACPN wrote or said of the campaign donations is fabrication and outright lies. Our campaign was conducted with the highest level of transparency and accountability with impeccable evidence. I know and can guarantee that at all times because, these standards firmly underpin my commitment to lasting values and professionalism.
"Only those who desperately wish to believe falsehoods would lend any credence to such puerile accusations by the leadership of ACPN. Only those who pretend ignorance of my legendary and uncompromising passion for accountability would give heed to such baseless statement. I have declined any interviews until my return to Nigeria upon which I shall hold a World Press Conference to engage Nigerians on the actions I shall take even as we present full report of our three-month old campaign for the 2019 presidential election to the public."
She thanked Nigerians for their support so far in the three months she ran her "formidable campaign", and restated her commitment to building a coalition that would work to "terminate the poverty escalating governance of the two dominant parties in the 2019 election".