Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), has finally withdrawn its from its presidential candidate, Oby Ezekwesili, for next month’s presidential election.
The party said it has endorsed the candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Addressing newsmen at a media parley in Abuja, the leadership of the party, comprising the national, zonal and states executives, accused the former Minister of Finance of using the party’s platform and position to negotiate for appointment into the same juicy position.
Reading a press statement signed by the four highest-ranking national officers, the National Chairman of the party, Gani Galadima, challenged Ezekwesili to render account of the funds she generated during her pretentious campaign for the race, warning that the party would not hesitate to take legal action against her should she fail to render the account to the party.
The party expressed shock that it was unbelievable that a presidential candidate did not have campaign posters, billboards, branded campaign vehicles and campaign secretariat to show that she was a serious candidate.
They further revealed that when she could not raise the fund for the N10 million Expression of Interest and Nomination Form, the party granted her waiver to pay only N100,000.
“We want to let the world know about the presidential candidacy of Dr Oby Ezekwesili, which in actual fact is not the truth. I have been put into confidence by one of her aide, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, that she only wanted to use the ACPN platform to negotiate to be Nigeria’s finance minister. This she did not deem fit to inform the party whose mandate she is holding.
“If you will observe, Ezekwesili is the only presidential candidate who was so militant in her campaign without any tangible thing on the ground to indicate any seriousness in the prosecution of the campaign. There was no campaign secretariat, billboard or posters or great commitment on ground to indicate any seriousness.
“It is on this ground that the ACPN is withdrawing support for her presidential candidate and endorsing the second-term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari to take Nigeria to the next level,” the party noted.
On why she quickly announced her withdrawal from the race, the party leadership claimed that she had prior information of the decision the party would take, after inviting all the zonal and state executives, stressing: “She only pre-empted the decision we would reach which was to withdraw her candidacy and give it to somebody else.”
On the waiver granted her to purchase nomination form, the party said: “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,” Galadima said.
Warning that the party would take legal action against her should she fail to render an account of all the campaign funds accrued to her, the party insisted: “She must return whatever money she collected from people on behalf of the party because whatever was given to her, belongs to the party.
“And don’t forget that at the end of the day, as a party, we must render account to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This is mandatory and it is in the Electoral Act. We want to use this medium to tell her that we are not unaware of what was given to her; we are unaware of the various accounts that she and her personal aide have opened to generate funds.
“We are aware that money was coming into it in droves, but we didn’t know the sources of the fund. She should please come and render account to us and give back to the party all that belongs to it because, without the party, nobody will give her any fund or donate anything to her. If she fails to do that, we will not hesitate to head to the court,” he said.