Presidential candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) Oby Ezekwesili on Monday challenged incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari to a debate ahead of Nigeria’s 2019 Presidential Elections.
The former minister of education and co-founder of the “Bring Back Our Girls” movement said on Sunrise Daily on Channels Television (October 8) that, “Buhari Must Debate.”
Ezekwesili, a co-founder of Transparency International, and a one of the pioneer directors of the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany, emerged ACPN aspirant on Sunday during the party’s national convention held on Alexis hotel, Abuja.
“We appreciate Mrs Ezekwesili for pitching her tent with the party and we have resolved to work with her,” ACPN chairman, Ganiu Galadima, had said.
Ezekwesili said President Buhari must tell Nigerian voters why he deserves their votes in 2019 General Elections, considering some of the inability of the president to solve some critical problems facing Nigeria, “security is one of such problems,” she said.
Popularly called “Madam Due Process” during Olusegun Obasanjo administration as the Pioneer head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (Due Process Unit), Ezekwesili said her declaration to become Nigeria’s next president come 2019 “isn’t a joke. I’m running to win”
She said, “It’s Atiku, Buhari VS Nigerian People.”
When asked whether she was coming up for her to seek political relevance, she said:
“I love to be underestimated. This is our opportunity. We have no reason to vote to continue to fail.
The upcoming election is going to be brutal. It’s going to dangerous, but we’re determined to salvage Nigeria.”
Obiageli Ezekwesili’s declaration for presidency
During the official declaration of her intention to run in 2019 elections, she said it’s time for Nigerians to rescue the country from mediocrity and enthrone excellence as the guiding standard.
Ezekwesili statement reads:
“The pain of seeing us become a country where the worth of life is trending down to zero, sadness that we are now known as the world poverty capital with 87 million extremely poor Nigerians, and anguish at the increase in the number of out-of-school children constitute a driving force for seeking the office of the President.
“Trust in public officials completely waned, angst knowing that only 10 per cent out of three to four million young people entering the employment market every year will likely find jobs, and concern about the future of Nigeria as a strong indivisible nation are the issues that have also compelled me.
“I have fully persuaded myself to lead a people’s movement that will permanently terminate bad leadership, ethnic and religious divisions, mediocrity, and failures in governance. We, the people of Nigeria, shall run together and win.”
“Our political class continues with self-absorbed attitude of seeing power as an end in itself, thereby producing no material improvement in the lives of citizens. This compelled a change of direction for me.
“It is time to make citizens’ wellbeing the core focus of political leadership. It is time to reclaim our values that have become distorted and reduced Nigeria and Nigerians to ridicule by the rest of the world. It is time for leaders to offer exemplary and sacrificial service that will mobilise our people to build a cohesive, stable, and prosperous society in which every Nigerian has a stake.
“I want to run for, and win the 2019 presidential election to serve and put the citizens first by mobilising and taking decisive actions on a number of big ideas that will help all of us build an exceptional nation that our future generation will be proud to call their own.”
Born April 28, 1963, Obiageli Ezekwesili is married to to Pastor Nedu Ezekwesili of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
She was also the former Minister of Solid Minerals and then as Federal Minister of Education during the second-term presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo.
Nigeria’s 2019 elections is considered the hottest contest since her return to democratic rule in 1999.
Oby will be standing head to head with more than dozen other presidential hopefuls in a critical electoral move to unseat incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking a second term in office.