Ezekwesili WithDrawal From Presidential Election: “It’s Too Late” — INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it is too late for Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili to withdraw as presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN).

According to Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu, taking such a step at this time is against the constitution as amended.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Mr Oyekanmi said “The deadline for Ezekwesili or any candidate in that category to withdraw or be replaced has passed”.

Oyekanmi said candidates are free to withdraw their candidature but in Ezekwesili’s case the timing is the problem.

He said according to section 35 of the electoral act, “you can indicate that willingness not later than 45 days to the General Elections”.

The INEC Chairman’s spokesperson noted that in the 2019 schedule of activities, 17th of November 2018 was the last day for withdrawal or replacement of candidates.

Mr Oyekanmi further stressed that though Ezekwesili cannot be forced to participate in the election, still she cannot withdraw because that contravenes the law.

He said if she had indicated earlier, the opportunity would have been given to the party for a replacement, adding that now it is too late.

U.S. and U.K. Press Statements on Upcoming Nigerian Elections

The United States and the United Kingdom announce repercussions, including visa restrictions, for election interference and election-related violence.

U.S. Statement

The conduct of the upcoming elections in Nigeria is important not only for Nigeria, but for the African continent.

The United States government does not support any specific candidate or party in Nigeria’s upcoming elections.  The United States supports the Nigerian democratic process itself.  We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful electoral process.

We, and other democratic nations, will be paying close attention to actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during, or after the elections.  We will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process.  Under U.S. immigration law, certain violations may also lead to restrictions on family members.

We welcome the signing of peace pledges by Nigerian candidates and their commitment to a peaceful electoral process.

U.K. Statement

23 days to the Presidential and National Assembly elections and 37 days to the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections, the British High Commission in Abuja would like to reaffirm our strong support for free, fair and peaceful elections in Nigeria.

We and our international partners remain committed supporters of Nigeria’s democracy.  We do not support any party or individual and believe that the Nigerian people should be able to choose their leaders in an environment free from hate speech and insecurity.

We continue to provide significant support to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission and to Nigerian civil society to help them deliver credible elections.  We also regularly engage with actors across the political spectrum to encourage them to respect electoral rules and maintain an atmosphere of peace and calm.  We will be deploying an extensive observation mission for the forthcoming elections, including coordinating with the EU’s Election Observation Mission.  Our monitors will in particular be looking out for any attempts to encourage or use violence to influence the elections, including on social media. We would like to remind all Nigerians that where the UK is aware of such attempts, this may have consequences for individuals.  These could include their eligibility to travel to the UK, their ability to access UK based funds or lead to prosecution under international law.

The UK is a friend and partner of Nigeria.  We hope our continued support will play a role in helping Nigeria take a further step towards consolidating the progress made since democracy returned in 1999.

Oby Ezekwesili Withdraws from Presidential Race

Oby Ezekwesili the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria has announced her withdrawal from the presidential race.

She however, opted to help build a coalition to defeat the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party in the February 16, 2019 election.

Oby Ezekwesili

A statement issued on Thursday morning by the spokesperson for Obiageli Ezekwesili Presidential Campaign Organisation, Ozioma Ubabukoh, said she took the decision after “extensive discussions with Nigerians at home and the Diaspora.”

According to her, the action was also prompted by an examination of the country’s electoral environment sequel to the 2019 presidential debate of Saturday, January 19, 2019.

The statement reads, “This 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.

“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 with in 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 arrangement in 2018, when I consented to supervise the internal selection process as an outside observer passionate about building an alternative force.

“However, despite resistance from the ACPN on these and other issues, I have decided that it is now necessary to show by action and example my determination on this issue by stepping down my candidacy so as to focus squarely on building the coalition to a logical conclusion.

“We have no right to allow citizens give in to despair. We will #Fight4Naija together and prove to all that the mess, which the political class has now become, should not be allowed to destroy our spirits and nation. We are also determined to ensure that the message keeps resonating that our beloved country deserves better, and that we will get the best that we deserve.

“From last year, when I joined the presidential race, I made it clear to Nigerians that the country has always had a 20-year cycle of change – 1958, 1979, and 1999. As such, 2019 begins another 20-year cycle, and together with all Nigerians of good will, I stand ready to play my part to ensure that we do not miss this golden opportunity to sing a new song. There is no more time to waste. Let’s get to work!”

Tinubu’s Ex-CSO Appointed acting Lagos Police Commissioner

The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Imohimi Edgal, has been redeployed while Kayode Egbetokun, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, was appointed to replace him in an acting capacity.

Mr Edgal, who was appointed Commissioner of Police for Lagos State on August 30, 2017, has been redeployed to Bomb Unit, Police headquarters, Abuja.

Kayode Egbetokun

Born on September 4, 1964, in Erinja, Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State, Mr Egbetokun enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force on March 3, 1990, as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police.

In 1999, he was appointed Chief Security Officer to Governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu.

He had also served in various capacities as Commander, Lagos Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Squadron Commander, Mopol 5, Benin City, Officer-in-Charge, Anti-Fraud Unit, FCT Command, Abuja, among
other positions.

A 1987 graduate of Mathematics from University of Lagos (UNILAG), Egbetokun lectured Mathematics briefly at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, before his enlistment into the police.

His also holds MSc Engineering Analysis from UNILAG, Postgraduate Diploma in Petroleum Economics from Delta State University, Abraka, and MBA from Lagos State University, Ojo.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Egbetokun was until his new appointment as Lagos CP the Deputy Commandant, Nigeria Police College, Ikeja Lagos. (NAN)