Former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, has criticised the nation’s democratic process saying it is blemished.
Ezekwesili, who was a keynote speaker at a lecture to mark the 85th birthday of Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka organized by his Centre for Investigative Journalism, said the process has failed to deliver its desired outcome of the masses.
“Our current democracy is blemished because of its inability to deliver the desired outcome for citizens,” she said on Saturday.
While calling on Nigerians to rise and contribute to the democratic process, she said: “We must all rise to demand a complete rethink of the kind of democratic processes that lead to poor governance.”
Reacting, the Director, Voter Education and Publicity of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi said the Commission has no power to sanction or disqualify perpetrators of electoral violence.
Speaking on the theme, “Rethinking Credible Elections, Accountable Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria,” Osaze-Uzzi believes that the nation’s electoral process can be improved upon.
“Some people blame INEC as an electoral management body that why can’t people be sanctioned? People guilty of violence or sponsoring electoral malpractices, why can’t INEC sanction them and disqualify them? I’m sorry, INEC has no such powers.”
Former presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, has apologised for what she described as an error of judgement in joining the party in her bid to become president.
Dr Ezekwesili tendered an apology while addressing a world press conference in Abuja on Monday.
“It has been an interesting one week since I made the tough but necessary decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency,” she was quoted as saying on Twitter. “I have been truly overwhelmed by the reactions to my announcement from Nigerians.”
She added, “I ask for the forgiveness and understanding of all who are hurt by my withdrawal from the race even as I take comfort in the fact that they would agree with my choosing to stand with my values rather than compromise.”
“Thank you to the young people who accepted and owned our campaign, to the women – my sisters and comrades – who worked and walked with me, to every believer and supporter from different tribes, states, religions and walks of life.”
The former minister said the accusation of fraud levelled against her by the party were laughable and alien to her character.
According to her, members of the ACPN were frustrated with her because they assumed being a former minister, she would have money stashed away or would use her global network to raise money for the party.
“One of the more laughable moments of the past week was hearing allegations that my presidential candidacy was a scheme to negotiate for a ministerial role. This is the height of political comedy, I must say,” she stated.
Ezekwesili disclosed further that her party card and other ACPN belongings in her possession have been returned to the party.
She said she was concerned about the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that she cannot withdraw from the presidential race less than 45 days to the elections.
She thanked her campaign team, noting that they would be getting some much-needed rest after the struggle.
The former presidential candidate said, “Here are the facts that speak for themselves. Since I resigned as a cabinet minister in 2007, it is known that I have declined offers by different governments to serve as a minister again.”
“Why would I then go through the pains of launching a presidential campaign to negotiate for a role I last occupied twelve years ago and have thrice rejected since after?” she questioned.
Ezekwesili added, “Such mud-raking tactics is the reason why our best minds abstain from offering themselves up for political office thus leaving the worst of us to lead the rest.
“More hilarious was the accusation that I raised and looted campaign donations. It is only morally bankrupt politics that can make anyone even imagine such accusation against me.
“My absolute dedication to public accountability is widely known and no matter how much we had hoped to raise as campaign support from the public we designed an accounting system to go beyond the basic minimum of accountability required by the Electoral Act.”
Candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, has withdrawn from the 2019 presidential race.
The spokesperson of her campaign organisation, Mr Ozioma Ubabukoh, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
He explained that the former Minister of Education stepped down from the race to help build a coalition to prevent the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from winning the election.
According to the statement, the decision followed extensive consultations with leaders from various walks of life across the country over the past few days.
“I deem it necessary for me to focus on helping to build a veritable coalition to ensure a viable alternative to the #APCPDP in the forthcoming elections,” Dr Ezekwesili was quoted as saying.
“It is my ardent belief that this broad coalition for a viable alternative has now become more than ever before, an urgent mission for and on behalf of Nigerian citizens. I have therefore chosen to lead the way in demonstrating the much needed patriotic sacrifice for our national revival and redirection.
“I wish to state that over the past three months, I have been in private, but extended talks with other candidates to birth a coalition that would allow Nigerians to exercise their choice without feeling helplessly encumbered by the evil twins of #APCPDP.
“While the deliberations continued, I never hesitated for a moment in my willingness and determination to sacrifice my candidacy in order to facilitate the emergence of the envisaged strong and viable alternative that Nigerians could identify within our collective search for a new beginning.
“My commitment to this promising political recalibration has been consistent and in consonance with my agreement, at the request of candidates under the Presidential Aspirants Coming Together (PACT) arrangement in 2018, when I consented to supervise the internal selection process as an outside observer passionate about building an alternative force.”
The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Obiageli Ekekwesili, says getting girls in school must be a priority for every nation, especially one like Nigeria which she says, is still “struggling with development”.
She said this during the NEDG/BON presidential debate on Saturday while stating her four-point agenda on tackling the problem of girl-child education in the country.
The ACPN candidate, who is also a former Minister of Education believes that a nation that “educates the girl-child has a higher track to progress and development”.
Nigeria’s education sector and specifically, education of the girl-child has suffered a setback in recent years.
With the insurgency in the North East and abduction of schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014 and Dapchi in 2018 respectively, many parents in the region have over time become skeptical of the idea of sending their children to school.
Ezekwesili, however, promises to rekindle the drive towards educating the girl child if she’s elected into office.
One of the ways she intends to do so, according to her, is through incentivization of the parents, as well as the girls.
She said, “The number one thing that matters for girls in school is to give an incentive to their families to send them to school because barriers that keep girls away from school are social, cultural, economic and each of those have policy solutions to tackle them and we will use those tools.
“The second thing is to give incentives for the girls to want to go to school.
“Part of the way to do that is role modeling and so female teachers go a long way in making girls want to achieve more.
“We would also focus on the productivity on the parents of the girls because we have found that when women are economically empowered, they spend 70% of their income on the education of their children”.
The ACPN candidate emphasized that educating the girl-child is not just for ‘her’ benefit but for the overall good of the nation.
She said, “The fourth thing that we would like to do is to show to the Nigerian people that economic empowerment of women is simply smart economics.
“It enables the entire society to benefit. It is not the girl child that benefits from access to education, it is actually the community, the family and the nation”.
The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Obiageli Ezekwesili, says if she’s elected into office, her administration plans to lift at least 80 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“Our plan is to lift at least 80 million Nigerians out of poverty,” she said during the NEDG/BON presidential debate on Saturday.
The ACPN candidate intends to do that by first improving the productivity of the majority of Nigerians which she says will enable them to pull themselves out of poverty.
She said, “The way that we plan to do this is that when you look at the Nigerians who are poor, it is very clear that they are poor because they earn below 700 Naira a day and live on it.
“What, therefore, needs to happen is that this majority of Nigerians, over 50% of them would need to improve their productivity.
“When people have higher productivity, they earn more. When they earn more, they lift themselves out of poverty”.
Ezekwesili further stated that she would remove the barriers that stand in the way of operators in the services sector, as about 60 % of the economy constitutes services.
“The structure of our economy is such that services constitute 60 % of it.
“The services are not high-end services, they are low productivity services and so our focus would be on removing the barriers that stand in the way of operators in the services sector.
“That would include improvement in policies that target the people in those sectors, removing regulatory barriers that stand in the way of formalization and prioritizing the investments that give public utility,” she said.
Other candidates present at the debate were Mr Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Democracy (ANN) and Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari, and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, were, however, absent.
The 2019 presidential debate put together by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) is underway.
Present at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja where the debate is taking place are Oby Ezekwesili (ACPN Presidential Candidate), Fela Durotoye (ANN presidential candidate), and Kingsley Moghalu (YPP presidential candidate).
Five candidates were expected but two are absent and they are Muhammadu Buhari (APC presidential candidate), and Atiku Abubakar (PDP presidential candidate).
Just like we witnessed at the vice presidential debate, the candidates are expected to reveal to Nigerians their plans for the country as the nation prepares for the general elections.
Former education minister and presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, on Thursday, took her campaign to the streets of Onitsha, Anambra State.
There on the streets of Onitsha, Ezekwesili interacted with residents and urged them to vote her for president come 2019.
In videos uploaded to social media by Ezekwesili and her Party, the presidential hopeful could be heard telling the people to vote for good governance.
Ezekwesili told newsmen in Anambra that hers is a campaign with a difference.
She said her campaign is a “disruptive” campaign intended to reach the people at the very point of their need.
“A vote for Oby Ezekwesili is a vote for good governance, I am the candidate to beat in the 2019 election because I am the candidate with the requisite attributes that can transform Nigeria,” She said.
Below are photos and videos shared by Ezekwesili and the ACPN as the street campaign tagged “Walk of Women” held in Anambra state.
The Presidential Candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Oby Ezekwesili has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to admit that his government does not have the answers to the myriads of questions to building a prosperous Nigeria.
Oby Ezekwesili made the call while reacting to a statement which the Presidency warned that the nation will be facing tougher times ahead, thus urging Nigerians to brace up.
According to the former Minister of Education who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, there have been several unheeded warnings that the nation’s general direction of economic policy is not helpful to the primary goal of assuring higher growth in the economy.
Ezekwesili said: “Higher growth is the basis on which you can tackle poverty, and higher growth is also the basis upon which you can unlock opportunities for prosperity.
“I don’t know whether you say better late than never, because right now the best thing that the President can do honorably is to admit that he doesn’t have the answers.”
She noted that the President has realised how fundamental the economic policy of the government has not enabled the private sector to be pivotal to the kind of broad-based growth that was necessary.
The co-founder of Transparency International, however, disclosed that under her government what will be done differently will be to put the “private sector at the center of our economic drive”.
She opined that “If we want to create sustainable and broad-based growth, what government must do is to become the engine room of intelligent found economic policies, fiscal policies and monetary policies”.
“This road is the economic artery of the country and there are many things that are going together.
“The poor state of the infrastructure, the poor traffic management system, the challenges of categorization of road users on this kind of a stretch of road, the policy on the weight of usage that happens on the road and maintenance issues.
“We normally call it road governance challenges. So you look at your road governance strategy and there is an issue there.
“This road particularly has a resonance for me because when I was at the world bank, we had a $400 million loan to enable this road be constructed. We had to move some of it towards supporting the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
“There has to be a complete rethink of the road strategy in our country.
“When you look at the budget of the country, its going to be impossible for us to solve this major problem of roads,” she said.
Her comments come hours after two accidents occurred on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
One of the accidents which occurred in the early hours of Saturday, involved two trucks and three other cars.
The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, has announced that the National Chairman of the party, Abdulganiyu Galadima, will be her running mate in the 2019 general election.
She said this on Wednesday while presenting her manifesto in Kwara State.
Speaking further, Ezekwesili took a swipe at the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), saying they were both responsible for the increased amount of poverty in the country.
She said rather than proferring solutions to the nation’s problems, both parties are busy trading blames.
“When that news came out that Nigeria has become the world capital of poverty, I expected that the government in office would have been outraged at the condition of the citizens.
“Instead of being outraged, that government, which is the government of President Muhammadu Buhari began to blame others for the situation and then, their twin party known as PDP that makes up the APC, PDP family began to throw its own blame and say we did not create any situation instead of worrying about the poor,” she said.
The ACPN candidate had stated that a major area that her administration will focus on if she is elected as president in 2019 is poverty alleviation.
She says her administration will work towards lifting over 80 million Nigerians out of poverty and providing equal opportunities for all.
The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Oby Ezekwesili, on Sunday took her campaign to the streets of Abuja, where she spoke one-on-one with residents ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The campaign kicked off at Shoprite in the Apo arear of he FCT, with Ezekwesili stating that Nigeria is progressing at a slow pace due to mismanagement of resources by the people that have been entrusted with leadership.
She went further to explain that she adopted the street campaign strategy because she believes it is a disruptive strategy that would make money unnecessary during the campaigns.
According to her, she adopted the strategy to prove to people, who had been asking her about her structure, that she had it in the streets.
“What we are doing is distribution because a lot of people do say, ‘where is your structure?’
“The issue is that it is the distribution problem that we need to tackle; get the message to the people, who then get the message to other people. That is what we are doing and you can see how successful it has been so far.
“This is a disruptive strategy; it is a strategy that is going to make money unnecessary to the extent that it (money) will no longer matter in elections,” she said.
Furthermore, the BBOG co-convener explained her reasons for going into politics saying, “My entry into politics is to change a lot of things. The idea that you go and embezzle so much money and then you use it to buy an office through politics in order to embezzle yet another round of money must end.
“So, we are a low budget campaign. You see what I’m doing? Some of the people who are used to the old traditional system will not understand it. But wait and see. Just wait and see what is going to happen.
“This strategy is working. It is going to work well because the person with the message is superior to the person with the money. The strategy that we have adopted is a very solid strategy.”
During the campaign, the former Minister of Education, also distributed booklets containing her policy action while trying to convince the residents that she is the best candidate among those parading themselves for the job.
She asked them to only cast their votes for her in the forthcoming presidential election.
“It is not going to be about me, it’s going to be about the Nigerian people sustaining it. This is the movement of the Nigerian people and I’m the candidate of the Nigerian people. I’m not the candidate of the political class. So, my campaign has a strategy to it and just keep waiting and seeing how it is going to unfold,” Ezekwesili added.
She said, “What we need to do is to compel the government of President Buhari to do what he should do to.
“President Buhari is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces and that comes with a whole of responsibilities and I believe that right now, the service chiefs have an explanation to make and that explanation had better be a serious one because there is no reason why we should keep people at their duty posts when continuously they are losing their battalion in the place of war.
“So, we need to re-assess the current strategy of the counter-terrorism war… is that strategy working, is the strategy broken, is there a need for us to completely abandon this strategy and find a different one?
“Are the people who are leading the effort on counter-terrorism, being held accountable? Why is our territory available for terrorists to live in… there is something wrong about that”.
Ezekwesili said this in reaction to the recent killing of several soldiers in Metele village in Borno State.
President Buhari had said in statement on Saturday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, that immediate measures are being taken to ensure that the loopholes which led to the fatalities are blocked once and for all.