Only female candidate in the race for the Speakership position in the incoming National Assembly, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, has stepped down from the contest.
She announced her decision in a statement made available to reporters on Monday night less than 24 hours to the inauguration of the ninth National Assembly.
Onyejeocha disclosed that the reason behind her decision had to do with the assurances given her by the All Progressives Congress, APC, that her constituencies will be carried along, fully recognised and effectively reintegrated in the incoming federal legislature.
Consequently, she declared her support for Femi Gbajabiamila, the APC’s preferred candidate.
The statement reads: “I threw my hat in the ring to improve the legislative framework for inclusive growth and social justice in Nigeria, especially for a marginalised group like poor women and the youth, who have been clamouring for more participation in the Nigerian economy and the state of affairs in recent times.
“It is a common knowledge that I also entered the race on behalf of my zone, the South-east, to address the agitation of exclusion alleged against our party and to equally zonal balancing in first-line leadership arrangement of our country.”
The lawmaker said she was aware of her party’s stance since the inception of the race but decided to push ahead because of the exclusion the South-east zone and for gender balance.
“I am therefore stepping down with a greater hope based on assurances from my party leaders and colleagues, that in the leadership and management of the House of Representatives in the 9th legislative session, the interest and voice of my constituencies – Southeast and women in Nigeria – will be carried along, fully recognised and effectively reintegrated
“I have confidence in this assurances and also that my campaign has further sensitised my party to the imperative of inclusion of the Southeast and women in the governance of the country in the next four years,” she said.