These are definitely not the best of times for Dr. Oby Ezekwesili’s push for her version of a better political state in Nigeria.
First, her party, the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) did not wait long enough for her to step down from the presidential race to throw its weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari in his presidential quest.
Now, the Red Card Movement (RCM), which she co-founded has given her the red card and has gone ahead to endorse Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as its presidential candidate in the forthcoming presidential election.
In a tweet on Friday, Ezekwesili described it all as tragic She described the whole drama as a political industrial complex syndrome in which citizens of character, competence and capacity sat back back and allowed political entrepreneurs to take over. She however said the fight for Nigeria has just begun.
RCM’s co-chairman Tony Akabuno, said in a statement: “RCM started in January 2018, through series of tweets by Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, which were followed by retweets and likes. So, this very prominent citizens’ movement, actually started on tweeter. The idea was disruptive, because a RED CARD was being waved at the two dominant political parties(APC & PDP).
“After Dr. Oby convened the maiden meeting of about ten co-conveners on January 9, 2018, the movement’s membership has spread across the 36 states plus FCT, 774 LGA, wards, polling units and institutions of higher learning. RCM actually has foot soldiers everywhere.
“We have robust structures across the states and LGA, because of the extensive recruitment that has been done by the state champions (leaders of RCM in the 36 states and FCT).
“Everything was going smoothly with the citizens seeing us as a group that could midwife a new set of leadership. We hosted Summit of the Alternatives (SOTA) with five other CSOs. After SOTA, citizens were waiting for us to birth a coalition of alternatives. Along the line, PACT came up and failed. Most of the SOTA partners also recused themselves from the whole SOTA plan of endorsing a coalition candidate of the alternatives. As citizens were still waiting for RCM to lead to midwifing of a coalition of alternatives, Dr. Oby joined the presidential race in October 2018. Some citizens felt the midwife suddenly became the baby.
“Dr. Oby resigned her leadership and membership of RCM, to pursue her presidential ambition. Upon her stepping aside with three other co-conveners, two co-chairs were elected to lead RCM.
“After several failed attempts by RCM, at midwifing a coalition of the alternatives, our members that are on the ground (State champions) at a meeting with co-conveners, last week, resolved that the primary focus should be how to ensure that the present Buhari led regime is VOTED OUT of power.
“The state champions confirmed that the reality of what is on the field(feedback from our structures and members in the States, LGA, Wards and polling units) is that ONLY the opposition party(PDP) has the capacity to dislodge Buhari. The state champions were basically saying that our RED CARD should be to Buhari and the current president and to APC as the ruling party. As the co-chair of RCM, I decided to align with our foot soldiers. Some co-conveners also supported this position of focusing on reviewing the performance of the leadership in power, and not be distracted with historical performance of past regimes.
“Some co-conveners were of the opinion that we should not get into any arrangement with PDP. These ones suggested a “Siddon look approach”. They appealed to me, as one that is very close to the state champions, to persuade our leaders across the federation to desist from supporting the Atiku/Obi ticket. But as a pragmatic political strategist and the peoples’ general, I had no choice than to reject the inferior argument of some co-coveners and strongly aligned with our state champions, who are in sync with the grassroots.
“We believe that it is myopic and grandiose delusion for anyone to think that any other political party can dislodge this failed APC, apart from PDP.
“We feel that those who demonize His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, are either envious, hateful or ignorant. This is a man that has NEVER been indicted by any court of competent jurisdiction anywhere in the world. This is one man that has successful businesses and was a good VP that supervised one of the best economic teams that Nigeria has ever assembled under President Obasanjo.
“We all know the constitutional powers of a VP in Nigeria. Those who claim Atiku has failed in the past, are not sincere enough to know that this man has NEVER been president before. They criticize Atiku but remain silent on Obasanjo. That is clear hypocrisy.
“Atiku is a successful businessman that understands governance because he learnt a lot from one of our great presidents, Obasanjo. And he has a running mate in the person of Peter Obi, that has practicalized Character, Competence & Capacity. We are convinced that Atiku led regime will assemble a good management team and ultimately restructure Nigeria.
“The coming election will be a defining moment in the political history of our country. Buhari has failed in all his cardinal programmes of improving the economy, provision of adequate security and fighting corruption. He has instead been playing politics with corruption. We cannot perform experiment with the presidency. This is not about Buhari but about the future of the country. The question is if we want the status quo to remain or if we want a change.
“We the leaders of RCM are not in doubt that Atiku/Obi ticket is the most efficacious brand that can send Buhari to Daura. We have come today to tell the world and our members, that the state champions, the co-chair (Dr.Tony Akabuno) and other co-conveners have DISSOCIATED FROM OBY EZEKWESILI, and today DECLARES SUPPORT FOR THE ATIKU/OBI PRESIDENCY.
“This decision is being made today, because we need to help rescue Nigeria. We are not members of PDP, but this is about Nigeria First.
“The main work starts now, because we shall keep canvassing until the campaign stops. Our strategy will add over 20 million votes to Atiku/Obi ticket. We know what to do, after this media briefing.
“It will be our joy, if all other parties currently not in CUPP can join hands with Atiku/Obi to dislodge Buhari. Let us avert any vote splitting. Our mandate is BUHARI MUST GO! This is not negotiable.”