News Brief

Oby Ezekwesili, Leader of #BringBackOurGirls, Withdraws from Nigerian Presidential Race

The former government minister says she's focusing on building a coalition to challenge the election's main candidates.

The Nigerian elections are just under a month away, and the race is only intensifying.

Today, one of the election's main opposition candidates, Oby Ezekwesili, known for her leadership on the 2014 #BringBackOurGirls campaign, has withdrawn from the race just 23 days before the election on February 16.


According to a report from Reuters, Ezekwesili has removed her name in order to help build a coalition that aims to present a viable candidate to challenge the presidential frontrunners: incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari of the All People's Congress and former vice president and leader of the People's Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, who is running an a platform of economic renewal.

She was the only woman running for office in the 2019 election.

"I have decided to step down from the presidential race and focus on helping to build a coalition for a viable alternative to the #APCPDP in the 2019 general," said Ezekwesili in a tweet.

Ezekwesili was one of that three candidates that took part in the tempestuous presidential debate in Abuja last Saturday, which both Buhari and Abubakar failed to show up for. Though she was not considered one of the frontrunners of the race, her withdrawal still comes as a surprise to some.

The politician added that she came to the decision to withdraw her name after observing responses from citizens following the debate, and consulting with fellow leaders.

The accomplished former government minister, is also the cofounder of Transparency International, an anti-corruption organization. She was considered for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her anti-corruption work.

Interview

Interview: Bizzle Osikoya Is the A&R Shaping the Voice of a New Generation

We caught up with the A&R expert and co-founder of The Plug Management to talk about the fast-rising demand for Nigerian music and what it takes to break out as an artist.

The meteoric rise of Nigeria's burgeoning music industry over the last few years is definitely one for the books. From high profile collaborations that have graced international charts to appearances on American late night TV and a Grammy nomination, the Nigerian sound is sitting at the epicenter of a global conversation that the world—including Queen Bey herself —seem to scrabbling to get a piece of the action.

However, way before this global infiltration and westernized conflation of Africa's assortment of genres into one Afrobeats, Bizzle Osikoya was studying Music Business in England and plotting for a way to be a part of what he knew was inevitable. "I remember going to clubs in school and they would always play Jamaican music but rarely Nigerian songs. I knew we made good music here but I knew I couldn't sing. So I was motivated to come back, go behind the scenes, and see how we can make that crossover possible," he tells OkayAfrica.

More than a decade after making the intrepid decision to venture into A&R, helping artists find and develop their sound, Bizzle's creative genius has cascaded across different musical generations, from the piracy rife CD mix era with artists like Naeto C, Wande Coal and Dr. Sid to a streaming era populated with hits from Reekado Banks, Tiwa Savage and Davido.

Following the success of his latest project, Oxlade's Oxygene, we caught up with the A&R expert and co-founder of the Plug Management—a talent management company that has managed Davido, Peruzzi and DJ Obi—to talk about what it takes to break out as an artist, the fast-rising demand for Nigerian music, and how "alté" is not the same thing as alternative music.

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