United States-based medical doctor and one of the 14 presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nwachukwu Anakwenze, has withdrawn from the race.
He has also directed all delegates supporting his ambition to transfer their votes to Governor Nyesom Wike who is also gunning for the presidential ticket of the main opposition party.
In a statement he released just before the commencement of the exercise at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, on Saturday, the former presidential hopeful expressed sadness at what he called changing the rules in the middle of the game.
He expressed disappointment at the failure of the PDP to zone the presidential ticket to the South East.
Dr Anakwenze wrote: “My decision to withdraw from the race is the inability of the party to stand by their zoning principle as enshrined in the PDP Constitution.
“I have consulted widely with my people, elders and followers across the country and in the diaspora to arrive at this unpleasant decision to pull out of the race. I felt if you change the rules at the middle of the game, no decent competitor would stand a chance to compete fairly.
“I, Dr Anakwenze made this known in a statement today, May 28th 2022 where I lamented that my attempt to work with the Igbo Aspirants of South-East Zone to forge a consensus which would give my people a renewed sense of belonging and hope to lead to the emergence of the party’s flag bearer could not be achieved by this abuse of the zoning principle.
“My interest was to bring quality leadership to the country, foster unity and restore the hope of young people and the women as have shown in my campaign manifesto.
“My decision to run for the office of the President with the great support of Nigerians in the diaspora was to bring in quality leadership that has eluded us as a nation for decades now, but this has been dashed.
“Many things have happened in the last few weeks that showed certain persons don’t stand a chance to compete favourably; so it is on this premise that I, painfully withdraw from the contest today 28th May 2022 in full support of a Southern candidate which is largely the wishes of Igbo Elders, the Diasporas and the voice of the people.
“I thank the party for the opportunity to inform Nigerians about how well they can fair with an Igboman as President whose love for the country towers above the lust for power.
“Let all my supporters across the North and South who have shown me that there are good Nigerians that still believe in merit and would put that above primordial sentiment.
“I had planned to make Nigeria one of the Ten Biggest Economic Powers in the World.
“I, Dr. Anakwenze said the People of Southeast wants the Presidency zoned to them and fully supported by other regions as the Igbos have always done. I am therefore constrained to withdraw from the race in full support of Nyesom Wike, the Executive Governor of Rivers State.
“Therefore, I hereby direct all my supporters, Structures and the national delegates of our party in 36 states in Nigeria, who we have consulted nationwide and who have pledged their commitment to seeing me emerge as the candidate of Nigeria’s leading opposition party, the PDP, in view of our people-oriented programmes, that they believe will adequately address and redress the numerous problems confronting our dear Nation, Nigeria to now throw their support in favour of Governor Nyesom Wike.
“Finally, I appreciate ACO (Anakwenze Campaign Organization) for the massive work done within a short time. The brainstorming is immensely recognized.”