Olawepo-Hashim slams APC as PT emerges most competitive party
Peoples Trust (PT), which recently nominated Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim as its presidential candidate, has emerged tops among the over 20 newly registered political parties fielding candidates for elective positions in next year’s elections.
With 194 persons running on its platform for legislative, gubernatorial and presidential posts, PT, with the Olisa Agbakoba-led National Intervention Movement (NIM), was first among the 28 were newly registered parties taking part in the processes leading to the 2019 poll.
A total of 6,510 contestants have so far been registered for the elections, comprising 4,496 for House of Representatives, 1,856 for Senate and 158 for president and vice-presidential positions.
The development comes as a coalition of Igbo group under the aegis of Igbo National Stakeholders Assembly (INSA) has urged President Mohammadu Buhari to trade Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with an Igbo indigene to get South-East support for his second term election in 2019.
INSA said the gesture would give the region the assurance that the 2023 presidency would shift to the South-East as promised by President Buhari, even as they asked that Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Joe Igbokwe, should be sacked on the grounds of bad representation of Igbo in the state.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Monday, President General of the group, Chief John Uche, noted that the Igbo tribe has contributed immensely to the economic growth of the country and is deserving of the Presidency.
He said: “We want the world to know that Igbo tribe is the most populous tribe in Nigeria. Out of the 6,247,845 registered voters in Lagos State, Igbo are 3,259,126 excluding non-indigenes. NdiIgbo resident outside South-East Nigeria constitute between 37 and 45 per cent of the population of their host states, and in Lagos, Nd’Igbo are above 55 per cent of the total populace. In some constituencies, Nd’Igbo are more in population.”
The group also lamented that APC in Lagos State has not been friendly with non-indigenes by denying them tickets for elective positions in the state, adding that there was an agreement between the leadership of the group and major political parties in the state to give Igbo a level playing ground at the just concluded primary elections.
“While Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) complied, APC did not,” Uche declared, just as he urged all Igbo to withdraw from APC for the meantime while they receive further directives from the leadership.
PT, which is in alliance with other parties, is promoting the presidential candidacy of Mr. Olawepo-Hashim, has a total of 194 contestants on its platform, including 140 for House of Representatives, 52 for Senate and one candidate for president respectively.
The party is being trailed by JMPP, 182, MPN 176, the ADP, 136, the ZLP, 115, and the ACD, 106.
Analysts attribute PT’s rise to prominence to the emergence of Mr. Olawepo-Hashim as its candidate, and its integration with many other parties and groups like Nigerian Intervention Movement (NIM).
Olawepo-Hashim disclosed that PT’s agenda is most appealing, stressing that the party’s economic development plan would create $4 trillion dollars in GDP in 10 years, even as he said PT’s target is to net five per cent global infrastructure funds in 10 years by removing obstacles to investments and rapid increase in the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
He added: “We will promote an innovative economy by protecting proprietary rights of innovators and the sanctity of agreement. We will integrate agriculture, solid mineral sector with industries and increase manufacturing share of the GDP to 40 per cent and then tackle unemployment through industry-based jobs.”
The PT presidential candidate deplored the poor economic management strategy of the ruling party, saying it has led to greater poverty among Nigerians, lamenting that “APC’s woeful failure has put 88 million Nigerians into acute poverty, with 1.1million getting into that bracket in the last four months despite relatively high oil price.”
Olawepo-Hashim said Nigerians were getting poorer, because of the woeful economic management strategy or lack of strategy of the APC government.
“Even though Nigeria was not a prosperous economy when President Buhari took over, Nigerian economy has now gone from bad to worse,” he noted, saying the recent revelation by the Brooklyn Institute that 88 million Nigerians now live under acute poverty is disappointing.
The PT presidential hopeful vowed to cut down on acute poverty by half in the country within five months of his election as president and commander-in-chief, and then set the nation’s economy on the path of modernization and all round development.
Olawepo-Hashim declared: “I am therefore better placed to bring the country back together. Most assuredly I can get the job done given my record of accomplishment. I will restructure the economy from a dependent one to a self-reliant economy by investing in iron and steel, research and development, and in other critical sector. These critical sectors will include chemical and machine tools so as to generate the production of capital goods, local capital and to bring in prosperity through the needed multipliers.”
Meanwhile, an opinion poll conducted by Truly Independent Diaspora Electoral Officers (TIDEO) has thrown up eight presidential candidates on top of Nigerians’ preference list in the coming February 2019 election.
Behind the two major contenders, President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, of All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the opinion poll shows the national leader of the about 17 million-member youth wing of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Reverend David Esosa Ize-Iyamu, of Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP) Omoyele Sowore of Africa Action Congress (AAC), and Kingsley Moghalu of Young Progressive Party (YPP), as possible winners of the election.
Others in the first eight of likely winners include former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke of Social Democratic Party (SDP), and erstwhile Education Minister, Obiageli Ezekwesili of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN).
TIDEO’s poll ranked 61 political parties and their respective candidates, with over 70 per cent of the respondents being young people.