Nnamani withdraws from presidential race

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A former Senate President Ken Nnamani has announced his withdrawal from the 2023 presidential race on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Nnamani, who spoke yesterday in Abuja, alleged that the primary had been monetised by some serving political office holders and some party chieftains.

The former Senate President described the development as the jettisoning of the zoning arrangement of the ruling party.

He expressed support for aspirants from the Southeast, saying they have what it takes to make Nigeria greater.

Nnamani said the clear understanding of party members was that the APC presidential candidate would come from the South, adding that only aspirants from the zone ought to vie for the office.

He said: “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 elections and commencement of sale of forms, the belief that APC would zone its presidential ticket to the South continued because only southerners purchased forms with the notable exception of (Kogi State) Governor Yahaya Bello.

“The fact that leading northerners failed to indicate interest in the race convinced many of us that our party will tread the path of honour and justice by zoning its presidency to the South after a northern President has completed eight years under the party’s platform.

“But the events of recent days created the impression that zoning had been jettisoned in APC.

“The vacillation of party leaders regarding zoning of the APC presidential ticket has not created clarity in the party and this 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.”

Nnamani hailed the 11 northern governors from the North who supported the zoning of the party’s ticket to the South.

The former Senate President described their action as an indication of clear conscience and the courage to speak out in defence of zoning the APC presidential ticket to the South.

He said the gesture, though belated, was an example of statesmanship in times of anxiety.

“Therefore, I discontinue my aspiration and wish the party a successful primary and unity of purpose so that we can win the 2023 general election.

“I will continue to engage with the party and its 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 election.

“No matter the outcome of the 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,” he added.

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