Bring Back our Girls activist Oby Ezekwesili withdraws from Nigeria's presidential race

Ezekwesili's withdrawal leaves incumbent Buhari and former vice president Abubakar as the main contenders

Ezekwesili's withdrawal leaves incumbent Buhari and former vice president Abubakar as the main contenders

The leading female candidate in Nigeria's presidential election said on Thursday she had withdrawn from the race weeks ahead of the poll to help build a coalition to provide a viable alternative to the country's two main parties.

The former Minister of Education announced her decision to drop out of the February 16 presidential election on Thursday, January 24, 2019, noting that she wants to "focus on helping to build a veritable coalition to ensure a viable alternative to the APC-PDP in the forthcoming elections".

"It is on this ground that the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria ACPN is withdrawing support for her presidential aspiration and endorsing the second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari to take Nigeria to the next level".

Ezekwesili, a two-time minister and former vice president for Africa at the World Bank, co-founded the #BringBackOurGirls campaign to raise awareness about the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the armed group Boko Haram in 2014.

A close associate of Mrs Ezekwesili, Aisha Yusufu, also confirmed the withdrawal.

Ezekwesili, in a statement on Friday from Cabo, Mexico where she is attending Albert Einstein's Genius100 Visionaries meeting, also accused the party of engaging in "transactional politics".

"My abiding vision has been to mobilise citizens to disrupt the old order politics of APC/PDP".

Nigeria and Nigerians deserve a New Order of ethical, competent and capable leadership which I had mistakenly assumed the ACPN was aligned with me to offer, until it proved otherwise.

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"Once again, I implore the frontline candidates in our generation".

"Our presidential nomination ticket is N10 million and expression of interest is N500, 000 but when she came she said she did not have money, that she only had N100, 000 and because we wanted to encourage women, we gave her our platform". All who know me can attest that I detest transactional mindset.

She said: "This decision followed extensive consultations with leaders from various walks of life across the country over the past few days. 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".

The party had accused her of misappropriation of campaign funds and threatened consequences if she doesn't return everything she got in donations.

But reacting to the allegations, Ubabukoh said Galadima's claims are baseless.

"We have no right to allow citizens give in to despair".

Political commentator Gbenga Soloki told Al Jazeera the decision to form a coalition against the main parties won't change the political landscape.

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