Main woman candidate in Nigeria elections drops out of race

#BringBackOurGirls activist runs for Nigeria's presidency. Photo/ AP

The main female candidate in Nigeria’s upcoming presidential election is withdrawing her candidacy and says she will now focus on helping build a coalition to defeat the ruling All Progressive Congress.

Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) announced her decision on Thursday morning in a series of posts on Twitter.

“I have decided to step down from the presidential race and focus on helping to build a Coalition for a viable alternative to the #APCPDP in the 2019 general elections,” she said.

“This coalition for a viable alternative has now more than ever before become an urgent mission for and on behalf of the citizenry,” she added.

“Over the past three months, I have been in private extended talks with other candidates to make a coalition possible that would allow Nigerians to exercise choice without feeling helplessly saddled with the #APCPDP”.

Ezekwesili, a two-time minister and former vice president for Africa at the World Bank, co-founded the #BringBackOurGirls campaign to raise awareness about the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the armed group Boko Haram in 2014.

Her withdrawal leaves incumbent Muhammadu Buhari and former vice-President Atiku Abubakar as the main contenders for the election, slated for February 16.

Only the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have won the country’s presidential elections since the restoration of democratic rule in 1999.