By Aliyu DANLADI
The Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) has announced the withdrawal of its presidential candidate, Mr Olusegun Mimiko from the 2019 presidential election.
The National Chairman of the party, Mr Dan Nwanyanwu made the announcement at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the party would approach the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw Mimiko’s name and file same for the Senate.
According to him, looking at the political barometer, Nigerians have zoned the office of the president to the North.
He said the North had produced two powerful candidates – President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
Nwanyanwu said Mimiko has the records to show and the capacity to replicate what he did in Ondo across the country.
“We are starting the process to persuade Mimiko to withdraw and take a senatorial ticket; after all, we need strong men at the senate to pass the necessary laws after the election next year.
“He is a loyal party member and I can assure you, with the discussions we have had, by tomorrow we should be filing his name as a senatorial candidate after withdrawing it from the presidential race.
“ZLP will be part and parcel of the making of a new president, we shall support one of the big parties but that is left to the party to meet and decide.
“We have to look at all the options and all that has happened since 2015, what is on ground and who is able to deliver for the common good,” he said.
Nwanyanwu said that there were too many candidates running for the 2019 presidential elections.
According to him, these candidates have formed themselves into groups, supporting one presidential candidate or the other.
“It does not work like that and we should stop deceiving ourselves, the election for next year appears to be between the incumbent president and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the PDP.
“I do not know how people will keep deceiving themselves; if you are a presidential candidate of a party and you are either supporting Buhari or Atiku, it does not work, that is deceit.
“Drop your presidential ticket, narrow it down so that votes would not be lost.
“If you pretend to be a candidate and close to election, your people will meet, an agreement is reached and then you announced you are supporting Buhari or Atiku; you should not be taken seriously,” he said.
Nwanyanwu said that such candidates have between now and Saturday to withdraw their presidential candidacy to support anybody of their choice.
He said it was important to do so to avoid confusion and possible loss of votes in the 2019 presidential race.
Nwanyanwu said that every vote is important in the 2019 presidential election urging contestant willing to drop at the last minute to do so before Nov. 17 to cut down the number of names on the ballot paper.
“Withdrawing close to the election will not make any meaning but withdrawing early enough will reduce the number of names on the ballot paper.
“This is because those in the villages who wanted to vote for you and does not know what you are doing here in Abuja will still go on to vote for you and such votes will be lost, this is to avoid confusion,” he added.