The former Minister of Education has urged Nigerians to ignore the fears about losing to the established political class.
Candidate in the 2019 presidential election, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, has taken a shot at Nigeria's established political structure, noting that the political influence of godfathers such as former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu, is overhyped and without substance.
Tinubu is the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and acclaimed political godfather in Lagos who's practically handpicked two successive governors and was influential to President Muhammadu Buhari's victory in the 2015 presidential election.
In a statement signed by Ezekwesili on Monday, November 5, 2018, she said the doubts about her party's structure are unimportant because the supposed established structures are not as influential as people believe.
Citing data from the 2015 presidential election, Ezekwesili said Tinubu's influence was only able to win Buhari a fraction of votes in Alimosho, the largest local government area in Lagos.
She said, "The truth is that you, my fellow citizens, are all the structure that we need to make this happen and this isn't some lofty ideal. It is very possible through difficult but practical steps.
"Let us look at the data. Data is something these old order politicians who want to rule forever haven't bothered to engage with.
"Alimosho for example, is the largest local government in Lagos state with over 1.2 million persons resident according to official census figures. In 2015, only about 650,000 of these people registered and obtained their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
"Faced with the rather unattractive choice of voting for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s Goodluck Jonathan, or the anyone-but-Jonathan candidacy represented by Muhammadu Buhari, a great many voters chose to abstain.
"At the end of the day, the #APCPDP, the twin terrors of Nigeria, only managed to conjure up 140,000 votes between them. In Almighty Alimosho. This says something loud and clear, that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu with all of his 'might' and experience in so-called grassroots politics could, at the end of the day, deliver only 86,897 votes for his candidate Buhari and their party.
"Where then does the source of this his widely reported power come from? Isn't he grossly overestimated? Asiwaju Tinubu and his like in #APCPDP control only as much as we let them. And the situation is the same in every other part of the country – from Kano to Ilorin – where any godfather claims to hold sway.
"These men are only as powerful as we, the citizens let them be. They have been getting away with this for so long because we outsourced our responsibility as voters to people who do not necessarily represent our best interests.
"The biggest trick that these entrenched politicians have played on us is to convince us of their invincibility, and we permitted them. This stops NOW!"
The former Minister of Education further disclosed that data has shown her that the unimpressed portion of the electorate who failed to previously vote for the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the base she'll target to achieve victory at next year's polls.
"The 500,000 persons in Alimosho who were so unimpressed by the #APCPDP that they refused to come out to vote are the numbers who will probably decide the 2019 elections. They are the numbers my campaign is seeking to activate
"Everyone has one vote only and we would work hard to earn the votes of these Nigerians who care enough about their country to be wary of giving their votes to a bunch of self-preserving and recycled polo-trickians who have had several years to deliver dividends to the people but failed woefully," she said.
"At the end of the day, 2019 will be decided by the incredible hard work and community that we create together, not the godfathers and their impoverishing brand of politics," she added.
I'll lift at least 80 million Nigerians out of poverty – Ezekwesili
Ezekwesili, a candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), promised Nigerians that her agenda will transform the nation and make it prosper.
With Nigeria currently home to 88 million people living in extreme poverty, the highest in the world, she said at least 80 millions will be brought out of poverty with her government's agenda of prosperity.
She said, "Our agenda is about creating wealth – growing the pie exponentially, creating jobs, building shared prosperity and taking at least 80 million Nigerians out of poverty.
"The agenda is to mobilize the energies of the people and our private sector, invest in upgrading our capacity capabilities to compete globally, and end the bad policies which have turned Nigeria into Poverty Central.
"Importantly, our actions will center on mobilizing the youth, building and adopting science and technology to disrupt the status quo in every sector including governance, implementing the reforms and reorganization to reduce bureaucracy, and making government a partner instead of an enemy of progress. This will in turn create jobs, turbo charge businesses and fight inequality.
"I have crafted and implemented multi-sector policy to transform the lives of those at the bottom of the pyramid. I have visited around this country. I have seen the poverty, audited the opportunities, and created solutions that have kept us from crashing.
"These men dont know the grassroots like I do. These guys only have experience in compromise and corruption. My own experience is in caring for people and rebuilding nations."
"The #Hope2019 movement that I promise, isn't built on fraud or deceit. It will not operate on unfulfilled potential and countless missed opportunities.
"Rather it is one of collective effort where every single voter is empowered to fight and take responsibility for fixing the rot in our system. It is about collective action of our citizens," she added.
The 2019 presidential election, sceduled for February 16, 2019, is billed to be closely-fought between President Buhari of the APC and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, of the PDP.
Alongside Ezekwesili in the chasing pack is Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), and Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC).
Others are Tope Fasua of the Abundance Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Eunice Atuejide of the National Interest Party (NIP), Olusegun Mimiko of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Adesina Fagbenro-Byron of the Kowa Party (KP), Chike Ukaegbu of the Advanced Allied Party (AAP), Hamza Al-Mustapha of the People's Party of Nigeria (PPN), Obadiah Mailafia of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), and many more.
79 candidates will contest in the election, the highest number ever in Nigeria's electoral history.