Mr Dumebi Kachikwu, Presidential Candidate of the ADC party says with barely 48 hours to the general elections, he is forced to accept the sad reality that himself and his running mate Ahmed Buhari may not win.
Kachikwu made the announcement at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja, saying that although there was no hope of him clinching the presidential seat, he had no plans of quitting.
Kachikwu said that it was important for him to let his supporters know about his slim chances.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation heads to the polls on Feb. 25, in a crowded presidential race, fielding political veterans and neophytes.
“When I embarked on this journey a year ago, I started with what I called my opening argument and promised to end my campaign with my closing argument.
“I believed then that my final argument would be a pitch on why you should vote for me but alas as we prepare to vote in the next 48hrs, I am forced to accept the sad reality that there is no pathway towards victory for Ahmed and I.
“I will, therefore, make a different argument today and it is the case for a Nigeria that works for everyone,” said the ADC presidential flag-bearer.
Kachikwu said that sadly those who would be mostly affected by the effect of the current financial constraints in the country were supporters of Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate.
He also said that the PDP, the main opposition party had been weakened by internal factors, including its division which now gave the APC candidate a better chance of winning.
Kachikwu, however, advised that the PDP and Labour party should reach an agreement within the next 24 hours on how to collaborate to win the election.
“Any vote for Peter Obi is a vote for Tinubu. PDP and Labour Party need each other. It is that simple.
“As true democrats, the leadership of both the PDP and Labour Party must find a way to work with the other smaller parties towards building a formidable coalition that ensures that the contest is even.
“Any attempt to go this alone guarantees another four years for the APC.
“Beyond this, we must accept the reality that except Northern Nigeria miraculously comes together in the next 24 hours to throw their support for the PDP candidate, the race looks likely to favour the APC candidate.”
Kachikwu, however, commended Obi for embracing youths and expressed his optimism that the relationship would go beyond the elections into real mentoring for millions of Nigerian youths who had lost hope.
The presidential candidate said that although the three front liners in the presidential race had previous stints in public service, he believed the Igbo’s had not had a fair share in Nigeria and should be given the opportunity.
“I subscribe to the argument that the Igbo’s have not had a fair share in the Nigerian nation, most of the blame for this must go to our leaders who mostly subscribe to self and family as against building their states or region.
“They failed to capitalise on the entrepreneurial spirit of the Ibo man to create an industrial powerhouse in the South East that would provide millions of jobs and shared prosperity for our people.
“Today the economy of the Southeast is in ruins. Our people live in fear and our leaders have relocated to Abuja and Lagos.
“When leaders are afraid to defy evil what do we expect to happen to our communities?
“We all saw what happened in Northeast Nigeria because their leaders failed to stand up to Boko Haram and we now see the same thing in Southeastern Nigeria.
“This attitude of it is their problem has almost destroyed us. We all have to come together to save Nigeria. Nigerians can’t continue to look for a mythic hero or saviour when they are unprepared for individual change.
“Today our youths are poor, angry, bitter, frustrated and therefore, subject to all forms of manipulation and abuse by desperate politicians.
“We can’t continue to do this to our people. We fail to plan for them but plan to use them. We threaten their future with inexplicable debts, we polarise and divide them with tongue, tribe and religion.”
Kachikwu advised Nigerians to look beyond the flaws of the three major candidates and focus on their capabilities, their relationships and associations and those they were likely to work with when elected.
He urged Nigerians to vote rightly and not allow religion, pecuniary gains and tribalism to be the basis for their votes.
Kachikwu also commended and congratulated other presidential candidates for being in the race and giving the 2023 general election a different dimension in ensuring that Nigeria was liberated.
He said that whichever way the pendulum of the elections swung, he would remain committed to nation building and would devote his time and resources towards deepening Nigeria’s democratic culture and practices. (NAN)