One of the aspirants contesting position of National Chairmanship of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Ibrahim Emokpaire has highlighted reasons for his withdrawal from the race.
Emokpaire, who announced this at a Press briefing at his campaign headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday said he took the decision after he had widely consulted leadership of the party, his family members and political associates.
The party has zoned the position to the South-south where the incumbent, John Odigie-Oyegun, comes from.
However, Odigie-Oyegun is not seeking reelection.
The election, which is billed to hold on June 23 when the party holds its National Convention is expected to have over 170 contests in attendance for various offices.
Emokpaire, who told journalists he had submitted a letter to the chairman of the convention committee, Badaru Abubakar, on his decision to pull out of the race, had earlier joined two former governors, Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) and Clement Ebri (Cross River), in the race when he declared his intention on May 28 and picked the nomination form on June 5.
He said his decision is to strengthen the unity of the party especially at a time when the party needs “reconciliation and rebirth”, adding that even though he understood it will be disappointing for his supporters.
According to him, “I regret therefore, to inform my teeming supporters; that following my recent round of consultation with governors, members of the national assembly and their counsel, I have decided to discontinue with the aspiration to stand election for the national chairman of the APC.
“I am aware of how much of a disappointment this would be to many, but I assure you this decision has been taken in difference to the wise counsel received in the course of consultation.
“I have decided as a loyal party member and a leader of our great party, to withdraw my nomination in order to unite our party and join forces with our amiable leader Adams Oshiomole to move the party forward.
“I feel that the friendships I have cultivated in the party as well as the unity of the party are more important to me than the possible election as the National Chairman of our great party at this moment of reconciliation and rebirth of the party.”
Speaking further, the APC chieftain explained that his decision was personal and not out of timidity or threat, but rather to enhance the party discipline and loyalty at all times, pledging that he will continue to support the party despite his withdrawal from the race.
“There are many talented and committed aspirants like me on board, all deserve our respect and attention. This was done out of my desire to create opportunities for party members through massive re-orientation and strengthening of the political institution within our party,” he said.