A former Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has formally declared her intention to run for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ezekwesili made the declaration in a statement titled, ‘Why I am running for the Office of President’ and exclusively obtained by SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday.
She promised to announce her political party of choice on Sunday (today), vowing to build an army of patriots willing to pull down the stronghold, “that is, the two failed dominant political parties in Nigeria – the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party.”
According to her, it is way past time for Nigerians to unify and mobilise nationwide to rescue Nigeria from mediocrity and enthrone excellence as the guiding standard.
Ezekwesili said, “The pain of seeing us become a country where the worth of life is trending down to zero, sadness that we are now known as the world poverty capital with 87 million extremely poor Nigerians, and anguish at the increase in the number of out-of-school children constitute a driving force for seeking the office of the President.
“Trust in public officials completely waned, angst knowing that only 10 per cent out of three to four million young people entering the employment market every year will likely find jobs, and concern about the future of Nigeria as a strong indivisible nation are the issues that have also compelled me.
“I have fully persuaded myself to lead a people’s movement that will permanently terminate bad leadership, ethnic and religious divisions, mediocrity, and failures in governance. We, the people of Nigeria, shall run together and win.”
While stating her rationale for taking the step, she said, “Our political class continues with self-absorbed attitude of seeing power as an end in itself, thereby producing no material improvement in the lives of citizens. This compelled a change of direction for me.
“It is time to make citizens’ wellbeing the core focus of political leadership. It is time to reclaim our values that have become distorted and reduced Nigeria and Nigerians to ridicule by the rest of the world. It is time for leaders to offer exemplary and sacrificial service that will mobilise our people to build a cohesive, stable, and prosperous society in which every Nigerian has a stake.
“I want to run for, and win the 2019 presidential election to serve and put the citizens first by mobilising and taking decisive actions on a number of big ideas that will help all of us build an exceptional nation that our future generation will be proud to call their own.”
According to the statement, Ezekwesili, who recently made the shortlist for the Nobel Peace Prize by the Peace Research Institute, Oslo, Norway, owing to her “efforts in making the world more transparent and less corrupt,” plans to run an all-inclusive campaign that will change the direction and dynamics of politics in Nigeria.
The former minister of education stated that she had no choice at this stage but to subordinate her feelings against politics to her stronger passion for ending the old order political ways, “which have entrenched bad leadership and governance failure in the country.”
Ezekwesili, until recently, led the #BringBackOurGirls pressure group as co-convener.