Presidential candidate of the Peoples Trust (PT) in the 2019 general election, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has accused the two dominant political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of playing politics with the nation’s stability through the way and manner they are handling the electoral act 2018.
Olawepo-Hashim who stated this in an interaction with journalists in Abuja, noted that rather than present the outlook of statesmen, leaders of the two parties are rather obsessed with personal gains.
The candidate running on the platform of the PT, which is regarded as a third force, told reporters that the president’s refusal to give accent to the electoral act, passed by the National Assembly was an indication that the main actors in the Nigerian polity have fallen below standards.
“The president is conducting himself like a typical Nigerian politician of the era of political decline, rather than behaving as a patriot that I have always thought he is. By his actions, he is simply saying ‘let me benefit from the fraudulent process for my 2019 bid. You can push for the new law in 2023 when I will not be connecting,” Olawepo-Hashim stated.
He further said: “It is regrettable that with the spiraling poverty in the land, insurgency by Boko Haram, violence in the North East and North West, the incipience of Shite rebellion due to high handedness, massive insecurity and bloodletting in various states, Nigeria may be damaged beyond redemption in four years should we all succumb to the plot of the APC to hand themselves a fresh term through a faulty process.”
Olawepo-Hashim noted that the PDP-led legislature had ample time to correct the perceived lacunas in the electoral act, which they had created in the first instance, but are rather distracting the polity with it.
He said: “In the task of nation-building, political leaders sometimes have to rise above the fray and take decisions in the national interest, even when it does not seem to benefit from it. Some of us did this before. In 2000, when some of our colleagues wanted to change our two-year tenure to four years, I led the opposition to this, even though I would have been a beneficiary of that exercise as a National Executive Committee (NEC) member.”
The PT presidential candidate called on the electorate and the entire citizens of Nigeria not to be discouraged from participating in the next polls as a result of the shenanigans of APC and PDP.
He regretted that since what he called the “garrison” election in Osun State and the unfortunate decline of assent to the electoral act, the APC has been trying to spread fear in the hearts of would-be voters that their votes will not count.
He said however that the PT is a product of the struggle for democracy, adding that the populace knows what to do in the event of anyone trying to hold on to power, irrespective of the people’s desire, saying: “We are a party for the people and we shall stand by them all the time.”
Olawepo-Hashim added: “The path of honour is for the President to commit himself to a transparent poll and ensure to ignore the counsel of palace courtiers and political war mongers intent on moving the country in the path of further destruction, God forbid.
“Next year is Nigeria’s hour of glory, and we will not allow anyone to prevent the glory of God from shinning on the nation. We have come a long way as a nation and Nigeria is no longer an entity that can be towed with, especially with the level of sacrifices our people have made.”