Ezekwesili Confession: My 90-Day Experience As A Politician
Things Fall Apart and the center cannot hold.
The former presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, says she has severed ties with her party.
Ezekwesili held a World Press Conference on Monday, February 4, to explain to the public her decision to withdraw from the race to become Nigeria's next president.
She touched on grey areas that led to her withdrawal and the quick alignment of the ACPN with the ruling All Progressives Congress.
From how it all started to the crumble of the cookies, the former presidential candidate said she learnt some bitter-sweet lessons which she shared live on Facebook.
According to her, the party, membership card, flag and other paraphernalia have been returned.
She claimed that her former party had approached her to be their presidential candidate, which she accepted after she hinted them of her values and beliefs, which they equally accepted.
Her party had accused her of paying only 100,0000 Naira for a nomination form that was valued at over 10 million Naira, but Dr. Ezekwesili said she had told the party that she did not believe that a nomination form should be above 100,000 Naira, to ensure that credible Nigerians would be able to afford it.
This, she also claimed the party accepted.
"The leadership of the party repeatedly assured me that they shared a common set of values and principles with me, but along the line things changed.
"I knew I will face test of my value, but did not know I will face it so soon.
"Our values were poles apart, and I am sorry for that," she told reporters.
She further claimed that the "ACPN did not believe in my advocacy for a cleaner politics and were not willing to be the vehicle to disrupt current political system.
"They began to show tendencies that proved they were junior siblings to the APC and PDP".
According to her, members of the ACPN had assumed she had looted money kept somewhere and was ready to spend on the election campaign.
"They thought I will be willing to go and get foreign aid to prosecute my campaign. To get foreigners to donate money to the party like APC and PDP did," she narrated.
The former Minister of Education, also referred to as Madam Due Process, emphasised that she was not ready to throw her values away just to accept the anomaly.
My option became clear - either adapt to the ACPN desperation or uphold my values and leave their fold.
"I have to follow my value, and I am proud I did that," she said.
GREAT LESSONS LEARNT
Now that she has left the party which she said showed 'transactional tendencies', she has learnt a few BIG LESSONS which she also shared.
"I have confirmed some of the theoretical beliefs that I held about our political process and landscape.
"In some cases I have emerged with a newer, fuller understanding.
"I have come face-to-face with these political entrepreneurs who run a political industrial complex that has held this country bound for too long.
"I have experienced their deviousness at work.
"Bad politics is not limited to the two dominant parties," she added.
"There are many issues that we must have important national conversations if we are ever to make progress as a people.
"Weaponisation of political corruption by incumbents using state institutions.
"Things like upturning the undemocratic custom of region zoning of candidacy in Nigeria and how we can ensure that internal democracy in political parties becomes an established norm," she said.
Dr. Ezekwesili also stressed the need for attention to be given to the emergence of a new mindset in politics and called for the establishment of political parties that will have dominant values.
She then called for a coalition and emphasised her support for a coalition candidate that will represent the new political class that will change the course of things.
The former Minister also asked other candidates, whom she described as credible alternatives, to make necessary sacrifice for Nigeria's common good to give birth to a politics of competence, character and capacity.
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