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It’s time to retire, not recycle leaders, says Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim


Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim

A presidential candidate, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, who is running on the platform of the People’s Trust (PT), has declared his candidacy as the best fit to rescue Nigeria from the politics and practice of recycling leaders.

The former student leader who has emerged as a third force in the race towards next year’s presidential elections, said as a matter of fact that “while recycling of waste products might be good for the environment, it is bad for governance.”

He stressed at an interactive session with journalists at the weekend 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 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 costs, 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. Next year (2019) must be the breaking point from the legacy of poverty and misery which politicians represent,” he stated.

Hashim had consolidated his bid with his emergence as a third force presidential candidate in prime position to challenge the duo of President Mohammadu Buhari  of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

He had earlier won the PT’s presidential ticket following a fusion of over ten political parties, including the Olisa Agbakoba-led 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 Buhari and Abubakar, in what will give a lie to the impression that next year’s election is a two-horse race.

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; an erstwhile Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia; and Plateau State ex-governor, Senator Jonah Jang, among a dozen candidates that went through the rigorous screening.

Chaired by a former military administrator and one- time Nigerian envoy to Russia, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, the panel reportedly shortlisted Olawepo-Hashim, the youngest among 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 at the University of Lagos and  Buckingham University where he was best student, 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, is seen as a potential force from the 14-state Middle-Belt, good enough to attract first-time voters  numbering over fifteen million apart from potential ones from the region and elsewhere.

Others are 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.

Other personalities on the then screening panel included a former Adjutant-General of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Zamani Lekwot; an erstwhile Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyil; a one-time Governor of old Gongola State, Mr. Wilberforce Juta; a former Governor of old Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo; Mr. Sam Ada Maagbe and Chief John Odakun.

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