Former Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State has withdrawn from the 2019 presidential election on the platform of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
National chairman of the party, Dan Nwanyanwu, confirmed Mimiko’s withdrawal at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the party would approach the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw his name and file same for the Senate.
According to Nwanyanwu, Nigerians have zoned the office of the president to the north.
He said the north has 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,” Nwanyanwu said.
Meanwhile, former Ondo State commissioner for works, Gboye Adegbenro, has dropped his senatorial ambition to allow Mimiko to replace him.
Adegbenro, who is the Ondo Central senatorial candidate of the ZLP, said in Akure on Thursday: “It became imperative that I bring to a close, my aspiration to represent Ondo Central Senatorial District at the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at this critical juncture.”
According to him, having consulted far and wide with his family, business associates, followers and constituents, he is bowing out before the full race commences in the interest of the party and state.
“More than the above, I am convinced that the candidacy of our leader, Mimiko, will better serve the interest of the district now and the overall goal of the south-west.”