A presidential aspirant and former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has given reasons why he is not attending the ongoing convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.
In a statement signed by a relation, Chinedum Nwajiuba, the aspirant said the party’s refusal to zone the position to the South-east led to his action.
Mr Nwajiuba hails from Imo State in the South-east geo-political zone.
“The understanding from the highest levels prior to his involvement, and considering his role in the founding of the APC, was that of consensus as was with the National Chairmanship a few months ago.
“With that understanding, the presidential ticket was to come to the South, and the south-east.
“This has been the hope till the end of the negotiations. He, not wanting to be part of the Dollar and Naira bazaar, is convinced that what Nigeria needs now is no more of the same thing that has kept Nigeria at the low level it has been.
“Our challenges as a country cannot be addressed at the same energy level by which they were created,” the statement said.
Mr Nwajiuba, a former member of the House of Representatives, from Imo State, was conspicuously absent when he and the other 22 aspirants were invited to the deliver their speeches late Tuesday night before voting commenced at the convention.
One of the masters of ceremony, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, repeatedly called his name but he was not present.
Mr Nwajiuba declared his intention to run for president in April after a support group, known as Project Nigeria, reportedly bought the expression of interest and nomination forms for him at the cost of N100 million. He explained some days later that about 3,500 Nigerians contributed the money.
He subsequently resigned his position as minister of state on May 10 to pursue his ambition. However, he boycotted the valedictory session organised by President Muhammadu Buhari for the ministers who were quitting his cabinet to pursue their political ambition.
The ongoing convention will produce the next presidential candidate of the party. Over 2,000 delegates will decide the fate of the candidate.
Mr Nwajiuba was one of the 23 aspirants vying for the position in the party. However, nine of them withdrew, with seven endorsing Bola Tinubu and one person endorsing Yemi Osinbajo.
The last candidate, Ken Nnamani, did not openly declare his support for anyone when he announced his withdrawal.
The sorting of votes was still ongoing at the convention at the time of this report.