Oby Ezekwesili’s withdrawal from the 2019 presidential race has been rejected by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which said that it is now too late for any candidate to withdraw from contesting any position in the upcoming elections.
Backstory: In a statement by Rotimi Oyekanmi, chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, the last day for withdrawal of candidates from the February elections was November 17th.
“It is impossible for any presidential candidate to withdraw from the race now. According to the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections, the last day for withdrawal by candidates or replacement of withdrawn candidates by political parties was 17th November 2018 for Presidential and National Assembly Elections,” Oyekanmi said. “The deadline for Ezekwesili or any candidate in that category to withdraw or be replaced has passed.”
In Section 35 of the electoral act, it is stipulated that: “A candidate may withdraw his candidature by notice in writing signed by him and delivered by himself to the political party that nominated him for the election and the political party shall convey such withdrawal to the Commission not later than 45 days to the election.”
What it means for her: INEC’s position does not matter too much to how Ezekwesili will conduct herself between now and the elections. She says she has stepped down, and no one can force her to campaign. However, this means that INEC still recognises her as a candidate and so she would be on the ballot on Election Day with votes allocated to her.