She says she joined the race because she wasn't too impressed by the new crop of politicians trying to govern the country.
Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has described the election of Presidential Aspirants Coming Together (PACT) as one of the most depressing things she’s ever experienced in Nigerian politics.
PACT was a coalition of 18 presidential aspirants who resolved to get behind one consensus candidate to contest against President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
In an election observed by Ezekwesili in August, leadership expert and business coach, Fela Durotoye, was elected the consensus candidate even though it led to the exit of a few members of the group, most notably Kingsley Moghalu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who expressed reservations about the electoral process.
While speaking during an interview with Pulse on Thursday, October 11, 2018, Ezekwesili, also a presidential aspirant, expressed her displeasure with how the so-called new breed of Nigerian politicians conducted themselves like the old crop that Nigerians are trying to get rid of.
She said, “When we were asked by a group of aspirants to monitor their process for agreeing amongst them through the PACT initiative who they would all rally behind and I have to say it was one of the most depressing things that I ever saw.
“You saw a situation where young people also were reflecting the behaviour of the old that we want to take out.
“It got to the point where I realised that just somebody had to step out there and step up the confrontation because this is a fight. This is a fight for the soul of Nigeria.”
Ezekwesili unimpressed with new ‘change agents’
Earlier this year, the former minister had convened the Red Card movement that campaigned relentlessly against the political ruling class and called for the installation of a new crop.
While speaking on Thursday, she said she joined the presidential race because she was unimpressed with the new crop of so-called change agents she had come across as part of her advocacy for new faces.
She said, “We, as part of our Red Card movement, designed a programme that we called the 3 Cs that you must have character, capacity and competence in order to be qualified to offer yourself to Nigerians to vote for you.
“Those attributes, if an individual has an inextricable composite of character, competence and capacity, they would very likely be good leaders.
“So, we began to say we need people like that and we went further to design an instrument with which citizens could evaluate candidates for the election. Then we called a summit of the alternatives because we’d red-carded APC-PDP.
“It was a two-day event at the Yar’Adua Centre, and even we felt underwhelmed because the quality of change agents that would take everything forward was a bit not quite there.”
Ezekwesili will contest on the platform of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) against President Buhari of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at next year’s poll.