Omoyele Sowore, candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), has responded to Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka's endorsement of Kinglsey Moghalu for President. And his answer is simple: "We do not believe in the politics of godfathers, godmothers or endorsements."
In a statement released very early on Friday, Soyinka had endorsed Moghaly, candidate of Young Progressive Party (YPP), saying the decision was reached after "months of studying the careers, experiences and track records of most of the presidential aspirants, and most intensely those actually short-listed by the opposition parties themselves".
“Like millions of Nigerians, we watched the debates. I physically interacted with some of the acknowledged top contenders, in some cases several times. We participated in HANDSHAKE ACROSS NIGERIA, where some candidates presented their briefs,” the Professor had said.
“Among others, I delivered a keynote address. We watched television interviews. We have exchanged notes with highly respected international Civil Servants. The drive towards Consensus among these dedicated groups sometimes took the form of test questionnaires to the aspirants, including items such as: ‘Who among the contestants would you choose, if you did not emerge as the ultimate preference?'
"Let me reiterate: there is over-abundant but stifled leadership material, and there can be no excuse, now that that potential of high quality is being manifested, for constricting the political space in a population that is nudging two hundred million. And that statement is of course specially addressed to those who took part in this exercise, those who deliberately opted out of it, some of whom were assessed anyway. Such potential compelled us to exercise utmost rigour in what proved to be a most daunting exercise. The final determination however is — the flag-bearer of the Young Progressive Party — KINGSLEY MOGHALU."
However, responding also on Friday through Dr. Malcolm Fabiyi, Director-General of his presidential campaign, Sowore said the only opinions that matter... the only voices of influence are not those of privilege, power, status, or fame".
"The only endorsement that matters to us is the one the Nigerian people have already given us. We are the voice of the Nigerian people, and the only organic platform that will represent the interest of the Nigerian masses," he said.
THE FULL STATEMENT
For the past year, Omoyele Sowore, leader of the Take it Back Movement and presidential candidate of the AAC has travelled across the 6 geopolitical zones, travelled to over 200 cities and towns within Nigeria, and engaged extensively with Nigerians at home and abroad to share his vision for birthing a vibrant and prosperous nation. Those consultations and engagements have created the broadest coalition of Nigerians that our nation has ever seen.
On our platform, those previously considered inconsequential - the voiceless, the teeming poor and the forgotten youth - have found a voice and an outlet for the realisation of a nation that works for all of her people.
We have said from the beginning that we do not believe in the politics of godfathers, godmothers or endorsements. Indeed, we seek to create a nation where the only opinions that matters, and where the only voices of influence are not those of privilege, power, status, or fame. The only endorsement that matters to us is the one the Nigerian people have already given us. We are the voice of the Nigerian people, and the only organic platform that will represent the interest of the Nigerian masses.
For the avoidance of doubt, there is no presidential candidate that can boast of the antecedents, the history of principled engagement, and the sacrificial participation in the struggle to move Nigeria forward that Omoyele Sowore has displayed over the last 30 years.
From the fight to reverse the annulment of the June 12th 1993 elections, to the restoration of democracy in 1999, to the truncation of Obasanjo’s 3rd term bid, to the exposure of the Yar’Adua cabal’s bid to deny a constitutional transfer of power to a minority president, to the courageous real-time release of the 2015 poll results that helped to safeguard and ensure free and fair elections, Sowore has been at the forefront of pivotal political events of in country.
No other candidate has had this level of engagement. No other candidate can speak of a thirty-year consistency in their service to the nation. No other candidate has worked for the Nigerian people as thoroughly and comprehensively as Sowore has done. No other candidate speaks to the aspirations of the Nigerian people with the authenticity that Sowore does. That authenticity is what has powered our party to becoming one of the three largest parties in the nation.
We want to assure Nigerians that on February 16th, the African Action Congress will be on the ballot. On that day, Sowore and the AAC will get the only endorsement that matters when the Nigerian people vote to elect him as the next president of Nigeria. On February 16th 2019, the Nigwrian people will speak with one voice, and that onerous voice of reason will trounce the dictates of godfatherism.
Nigeria, our dear Nigeria, is on the March to greatness!