Abuja — An All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant and leader of the agitations for Middle-Belt presidency in 2023, Moses Ayom, has withdrawn from the race.
He attributed his decision to the last minute dumping of the zoning arrangement by the leadership of the APC.
Ayom, according to a statement by his media office in Abuja on Sunday, announced his withdrawal while breaking fast with members of the Interfaith Clerics Council of Nigeria on Saturday, at an event centre he donated to the APC.
He also said his withdrawal from the race was in deference and total submission to the Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC.
He said: “On the basis of all these, I wish to state without any form of equivocation, that I am standing down my aspiration for the presidency of our country summarily. I wish to state very boldly that we shall return at the right time.”
Adamu had last Friday told journalists at the Presidential Villa that the party had not taken any decision on zoning of the presidency.
When asked where the governing party would be zoning its presidential ticket to, Adamu said such a decision was beyond the NWC and is the prerogative of the entire party, which, he acknowledged, is bigger than the chairman.
Ayom said part of the reason he wanted to contest the election was to bring relief and succour to his people, who, according to him, “for decades had not experienced equity, fairness and justice”.
He said: “A people that had suffered untold marginalisation and maltreatment in the form of economic and social deprivation arising from political slavery.
“The wanton destruction of lives and property through terrorism, banditry and kidnappings which had been meted out to the region is a classical example.”
On the failure of the party to zone the presidency to the Middle Belt, Ayom said the party ought to embrace equity and fairness.
He also expressed dismay over the failure of the party to reduce the N100 million nomination fee for presidential aspirants.
He said: “Furthermore, I made another passionate call to the leadership of our party a few days ago, to align with the call of Mr. President to avoid the pitfall of conceding the elections into the hands of the highest bidder.
“I called for the review of the high prices for nomination form, the highest in the history of the country. The Interfaith Clerics Council also wrote a letter and visited the national chairman asking for a review of the prices all to no avail.”
The aspirant advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to jettison the economic diversification policy of his government.
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He said: “While I withdraw from the race, I want to remind President Muhammadu Buhari of the good decision he took to diversify the economy as soon as he took over the mantle of leadership of this country.
“The specific case of going into partnership with China to sign some MoU in 2016 is an issue here.
“The president made history by taking me along with Aliko Dangote to China for those deals aimed at diversifying the economy.
“In that business presidential trip, the federal government signed $6 billion currency swap to facilitate trade between China and Nigeria and to reduce the pressure on foreign reserve.
“The second agreement was the $2.6 billion signed by Aliko Dangote in the mining sector has started yielding fruits.
“The third is the contract signed by Rev. Moses Ayom on behalf of Granite and Marble, with World’s largest manufacturer of mining equipment, China’s SBM.
“It is heartwarming that great milestone achievements have been recorded notably the recent commissioning of the fertilizer company by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos which is the second largest in the world.”