NIGERIA PRESIDENT TO RUN FOR SECOND TERM WITH PARTY ENDORSEMENT

ABUJA– Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will run for a second term in polls scheduled for February 2019 after his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party endorsed his candidacy on Saturday.

As the party’s sole contender, his confirmation by some 7,000 delegates gathered in the capital Abuja was a mere formality.

Next year’s presidential race appears to have tightened in recent months with the APC hit by a wave of defections over the leadership style of the 75-year-old former military ruler.

Meanwhile, former Nigerian minister Obiageli Ezekwesili, co-founder of a group to raise awareness about more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014, on Sunday announced that she will run for president next year.

Ezekwesili, a former vice president for Africa at the World Bank, issued a statement announcing her intention to run. Nigeria’s presidential election is scheduled to take place in February 2019.

Ezekwesili, 55, served in Nigeria’s government between 2000 and 2007, first as minerals minister and later education minister.

“I want to run for, and win, the 2019 presidential election to serve and put the citizens first by mobilizing and taking decisive actions on a number of big ideas that will help all of us build an exceptional nation,” Ezekwesili said in a statement.

Africa’s most populous country, which is also the continent’s top oil producer, emerged from recession early last year. But growth remains sluggish and inflation has remained high, above the central bank’s single-digit target range.

Ezekwesili’s emailed statement made no reference to affiliations to a political party and did not provide details of specific policies she would support. She said she planned to tour the country.

“Governance keeps worsening. So we the citizens have decided to get into the political arena to make things right,” she said.

Ezekwesili, one of the founders of civil society organization Transparency International, was considered for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her anti-corruption work.

She is known more recently for her work as co-founder of Bring Back Our Girls, a campaign which seeks to raise awareness about some 270 girls who were kidnapped from their school in the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok in April 2014 by Boko Haram group.

The campaign brought international attention to the girls’ plight.

Many of the Chibok girls managed to escape in the hours following their abduction or were released in the last few years, including 82 who were released in an exchange deal that included several imprisoned insurgents. About 100 of the girls are still missing and their condition is unknown.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK