The former minister said she'll curb corruption in Nigeria by preventing opportunities to engage in corrupt acts.
The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Oby Ezekwesili, has branded corruption in Nigeria a tax on the nation's poor population.
While speaking about her candidacy during a CNN interview on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, the former Minister of Education said Nigerian leaders have no incentive to feel accountable to the people that put them in public office.
To curb corruption if elected president, Ezekwesili said she'll deregulate the economy to prevent public officials access to use it for personal gains. She said she would also ensure that perpetrators would be punished to deter others from engaging in corrupt acts.
She said, "Bad governance is so endemic when there are no expectations of results from those that govern society and, therefore, there's no demand for accountability. Even when there's demand for accountability, there's no incentive on the part of the people who govern to produce results.
"I was one of the co-founders of Transparency International and we know that corruption is a tax on the poor and we already know that there are ways to tackle corruption.
"You prevent opportunities for corruption, you reduce corruption. Part of what my agenda is is to deregulate the economy in the kind of way that public officials don't have too much presence in the economy to be able to utilise it for personal gain.
"And also to complement the actions on the prevention side with a system that punishes corruption every time it happens because then you create a deterrence against that very malignant, cancerous action that has kept our country underdeveloped more than anything we could have imagined at independence."
Of Nigeria's estimated 180 to 200 million-strong population, 88 million people live in extreme poverty, the highest in the world.
2019 presidential election
The 2019 presidential election, scheduled for February 16, 2019, is billed to be closely-fought between President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party (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), 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.