By Nseobong Okon-Ekong
Presidential Candidate of the People’s Trust, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has declared that he has the winning formula to cause a major upset in the 2019 presidential election. He said the presidential will not be a two-horse race as widely predicted
The candidate who has emerged as a third force in the race towards next year’s presidential elections, frowned at what he described as recycled leaders, saying, “While recycling of waste products might be good for the environment, it is bad for governance.”
He stressed at an interactive session with journalists in Lagos that the world has developed to appreciate the importance of recycling refuse and waste products, but cannot grow to the extent of accepting fading personalities as our potential rescuers.
“What we need now is a new generation of leaders. We no longer need the cabal anymore. We cannot accept a situation where we accommodate multiple pension-receiving individuals. I mean those who have been living on government expenses in ages. It is good to retire these people and the time to do that is now,” Olawepo-Hashim stated.
He lamented that while the nation sustains them and their families at huge cost, the ordinary people continue to struggle. “It is time to retire these people. It is time to retire them from politics and then drive Nigeria on the new part of creativity. My mission is to stop political recycling and we shall achieve this, by the Grace of God
“The nation certainly needs fresh ideas on how to develop the economy, unite and secure the country, which the political elites recycling themselves in power have not been able to offer. 2019 must be the breaking point from the legacy of poverty and misery which politicians represent,” he stated.
The candidate had consolidated his presidential bid with his emergence at the weekend as a third force presidential candidate in prime position to challenge the duo of President Mohammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Running on the platform of the People’s Trust (PT) had earlier won the party’s presidential ticket following a fusion of over 10 political parties, including the Olisa Agbakoba lead National Intervention Movement (NIM). His name has since been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Reliable sources have also confirmed that more parties are likely to fuss into the growing alliance, following a new zeal to join forces against the duo of President Buhari and Alhaji Abubakar, in what will give a lie to the impression that next year’s election is a two horse race.
The growing integration of the third force includes the majority of members of the moribund Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), even though a tiny fraction of the party still went ahead and presented a presidential candidate.
The Middle Belt Forum had earlier shortlisted Olawepo-Hashim among four of its prominent indigenes as likely presidential candidates to represent the region in next year’s presidential poll
Others who had made the list were a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana; former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia; and former Plateau State Governor, Senator Jonah Jang, amongst a dozen candidates that went through the rigorous screening.
Chaired by Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, the panel reportedly shortlisted Olawepo-Hashim, the youngest amongst the four, for his deep knowledge of the economy arising from his successful business endeavours, spanning the breadth of oil and gas , power, communications and marketing.
The businessman’s urbane and cerebral qualities partly reflected in his feats in the University of Lagos and the Buckingham University where he was best student in his cohort, winning the MaxBerlof Award for Global Affairs were also advantages.
The first elected National Deputy Publicity Secretary of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Olawepo-Hashim, the youngest of the aspirants screened, is seen as a potential force from the Middle-Belt region, good enough to attract first-time voters on the national voter register numbering over 15 million apart from potential voters from the region and elsewhere.
His pro-democracy credentials beginning from his University of Lagos days and growing into his real life experiences, leading to his recognition as Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience in 1989 have also been listed as some of his competitive advantage in the presidential race.