Former Senate President, Ken Nnamani has dropped out of the race for the All Progressives Congress’ presidential ticket.
He made this known during a press conference in Abuja on Monday.
Nnamani said his decision was motivated by the APC’s decision not to zone the presidency to the South, specifically the South-East.
He also noted that the processes leading to the presidential primaries had been beclouded by a lack of certainty on schedules and timelines.
“This uncertainty frustrated effective campaigns and made the primary a game for those with deep pockets (mostly those in control of state funds, political offices and party structure),” Nnamani said.
He said he had been unable to market his “profile and ideas” to party delegates.
“Therefore, while I discontinue my aspiration, I wish the Party a successful primary and unity of purpose, so that we can win the 2023 general elections,” he said.
“I will continue to engage with the Party and it’s Leadership to make sure that the ideas and values that I cherish and propagate find strong footing in the party administration and in public leadership after the elections.
Mr Nnamani advocated for a Vice Presidential candidate from the South-East.
“No matter the outcome of the Presidential primary, I pray that our Party does justice to the Southeast that ought to present the next presidential candidate of our Party,” he said.
“I would be glad if any of my Colleagues from the Southeast vying for the office wins the primary. Any of them can provide strong leadership to the country.”
See full version of his press statement below:
A TIME TO STAND ON PRINCIPLES
A Text of Press Statement by Senator Ken Nnamani, GCON
on the APC Presidential Primary Convention
June 06, 2022
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I want to address you on the developments in the upcoming All Progressives Congress (APC) primary scheduled for June 6-7, 2022. As you all know, the screening of the aspirants for president has been completed and the report submitted to the National Chairman of the APC. I appreciate the screening committee for its work. The issues I raised in this statement have no bearing on the outcome of the screening exercise. They relate to the large questions of justice and equity and how the leadership of our party wish to be remembered in history. The issues I want to raise are about the management of party politics to achieve the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy as articulated in Chapter 2 of the Nigerian constitution. They are about sustaining the visions of the founding fathers of the APC and the aspirations of millions of Nigerians who have placed trust in our party.
You will recall that on March 26, 2022, a new set of members of the National Working Committee of the APC was elected in an elective convention. In that election, there was a unity list which was endorsed by all the Governors and other leaders of the Party from different regions, and approved by Mr. President. The unity list was anchored on the core principles of the party to rotate and zone political offices. The Party swapped positions between the North and South. The party offices that were occupied by leaders from the South were automatically transferred to the North. This explains why no Southern Candidate contested for the office of the National Chairman at the convention. Everyone accepted that the position of the National Chairman was zoned to the north, while the position of the President was reserved for the Southern aspirants.
The clear understanding of party Members is that the Presidential Candidate of the party will come from the South while only aspirants from the zone will contest for the office. This is a logical follow-up to the outcome of the National Convention. The statements of party leaders confirmed this general perception. In the initial weeks after the announcement of the timetable for the election and commencement of sale of forms, the belief that APC would zone its presidential ticket to the South continued because only Southerners purchased forms, except Gov. Yahaya Bello. The fact that leading Northerners failed to indicate interest in the race convinced many of us that our Party will thread the path of honor and justice by zoning its presidency to the South after a president of Northern extraction had completed eight years under the party platform.
But the events of recent days have created the impression that zoning had been jettisoned in the APC. The vacillation of party Leaders with regards to zoning of the APC presidential ticket has not created clarity in the Party and injures the confidence and faith of many in the South, particularly the Southeast, in the Party. It has the implication of suggesting to many in the Party, including myself, that the Party will allow conveniences of the moment to override foundational issues of justice and fairness. Considering the events of the recent past, all well-meaning Nigerians must reaffirm faith in the constitutional values of justice and fairness. These values are what will sustain our democracy as we confront the headwinds of pluralism and sectarianism. We should never allow short-term political advantages to override these values.
But let me commend the 11 (eleven) Governors from the North for the intelligence and the courage to speak out in defense of zoning the APC presidential ticket to the South. This gesture, though belated, is an example of statesmanship in time of anxiety. By recognizing the centrality of Justice in our politics, these governors have underlined a core value in our republican government. Their action has given further hope that justice still means something for us. It could have been more reassuring and impactful if their statement was issued early enough to be adopted by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our Party. It would have had greater impact if the statement had argued for the presidential ticket to be micro-zoned to the Southeast the only zone in the South that has not produced the President nor Vice President since the return to democracy in 1999.
Another issue that beclouded the process for the primary was the lack of certainty on schedules and timelines. This uncertainty frustrated effective campaigns and made the primary a game for those with deep pockets (mostly those in control of state funds, political offices and party structure). I do not belong to any of these groups. However, I have the ideas and competences to get the country working, to solve the crises of economic stagnation, insecurity and political instability. My faith for entering the race is that I will have the opportunity to present my credentials, achievements and ideas for the future of Nigeria. I had anticipated that the Party would have been more definitive with their plans for timely screening, so as to allow for meaningful consultations and campaigns. But that opportunity never came. The schedules were uncertain, even until a few days to the primary election.
Given the present circumstances, it does not make any sense for me to continue in the race as I have not had the opportunity to market my profile and ideas to the delegates of our party in a manner that allows for deliberation and introspection. Therefore, while I discontinue my aspiration, I wish the Party a successful primary and unity of purpose, so that we can win the 2023 general elections. I will continue to engage with the Party and it’s Leadership to make sure that the ideas and values that I cherish and propagate find strong footing in the party administration and in public leadership after the elections.
No matter the outcome of the Presidential primary, I pray that our Party does justice to the Southeast that ought to present the next presidential candidate of our Party. I would be glad if any of my Colleagues from the Southeast vying for the office wins the primary. Any of them can provide strong leadership to the country.
Senator Ken Nnamani, GCON
Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2005-2007)