Many thought it was the moment for women to take up the leadership mantle in Nigeria after Oby Ezekwesili announced her intentions for the presidency.
Ezekwesili was to lead the bid for the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, a little known party.
She withdrew from the race to help build a coalition as a viable alternative to the country’s two main parties.
So as we begin this massive building up of a movement towards changing the decadent kind of politics, those kinds of young women must come on board.
“The ultimate trigger for my launching a presidential bid was consternation that once again our citizens were locked in with two undesirable candidates of these dominant parties and were ruefully preparing themselves to vote the lesser of two evils,” she told journalists at a press conference she held in Abuja on Monday to discuss her withdrawal.
The 55-year-old former vice president for Africa at the World Bank wants her drive to motivate other women to venture into politics.
“Those young women who are looking at me they should be saying…ah there is a standard bearer for the new kind of politics, I think I like this, I’m going to get into it. So as we begin this massive building up of a movement towards changing the decadent kind of politics, those kinds of young women must come on board,” she said.
Ezekwesili served in Nigeria’s government between 2000 and 2007, first as minerals minister and later education minister.
She is known more recently for her work as co-founder of Bring Back Our Girls, a campaign that raised awareness about the 270 Chibok girls who were kidnapped from their school in the northeast of the country in April 2014 by Islamist group Boko Haram.
She is a founder of civil society organization Transparency International and was considered for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her anti-corruption work.
Nigeria’s presidential election is scheduled for February 16. The main candidates in Africa’s most populous nation’s race to Aso Rock are the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, and Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president who is representing the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Buhari is standing for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).