A frontline presidential aspirant of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, said weekend that the 2019 presidential election would be a three-party race, declaring that the ANN would offer a credible alternative platform to Nigerians who desire real change and national revival.
Olawepo-Hashim said at the national convention of the ANN in Abuja that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had both failed to justify the peoples’ confidence in them.
He said as flawed and compromised platforms, the APC and the PDP would not sail through in 2019, as they would suffer outright rejection by Nigerians who have become disillusioned by their failure to provide leadership required to transform Nigeria.
According to him, “the national economy has been grossly mismanaged by the APC government. We are almost in a disaster on the economy. When President Goodluck Jonathan left, unemployment rate was 6.4 percent, but under President Muhammadu Buhari, it is now 600 percent increase.”
Olawepo-Hashim, a successful international businessman and chairman of Oilworld Limited, said both the APC and the PDP were in disarray and up for a crushing defeat in the 2019 general election.
He stated, in particular, that President Buhari must be changed and the people must be deliberate in investing their mandate in another leadership on the basis of capacity and vision and not on the basis of “anybody in 2019 but Buhari”.
“The mistake of 2015 must not be repeated when some people said anybody but President Goodluck Jonathan would be president. So, it must not just be anybody but President Buhari in 2019, because anybody can as well be worse than Buhari,” he declared.
Olawepo-Hashim, who was first elected into the position of deputy national publicity secretary of the PDP in 1999, called on Nigerians to rest assured that the ANN would offer a credible and solid platform for national revival, and declared that he would contest for the position of president on the ANN platform in the 2019 election.
The former student union leader said he had a divine command to offer himself on the platform of a credible third party on which he intended to collaborate with Nigerians, most especially the young and the not-too-old of both sexes, in order to take Nigeria to higher heights.
He said the ANN was not a part of the coalition of political parties through which many questionable politicians had sneaked into politics, stressing that the decision was informed by the need to be able to convince Nigerians that “it is not politics for the sake of it and neither is it business as usual.”
According to him, “It is a serious and national movement of renewal. I will be a rallying point for the national rebirth. There are values that must guide our leaders. We are people of integrity. Mindless looting is not who we are. We are decent people and our leaders should be able to champion our positive values.
“There are leaders who talk down on the country, that Nigeria is corrupt and they think they can increase their political value by debasing and demeaning the country and talking down on their people. That is not the business of leadership. The business of leadership is to inspire change with the greatest value and propel them on the path of national reconstruction.”
He canvassed “a change in the context in which politics is being played in the country so that we can have a sane conversation on the way forward.”