By Juliet Umeh
As the race towards the presidential primary of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, enters a crucial stage, one of the aspirants, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has said he was in a better position to unite the currently badly divided country, if he gets the party’s ticket to lead Nigeria in 2023.
Olawepo-Hashim in an Iftar dinner he hosted on Tuesday in Abuja for chairmen of the party from the six states in the North Central geo-political zone and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, explained that anyone who grew up in the North Central zone where about 86 ethnic groups live would have learned one or two lessons in diversity.
According to him, those lessons will come in handy to cement the nation’s diversity for greater strength.
He said: “Charity begins at home. The North Central is where I have made home. And that is why my consultation is starting from here. You can see how difficult it is for us to pick the host chairman at this meeting.
‘’Is it my brother, Haliru Jokantoro, Chairman of Niger from Bussa where I did my primary school and still have strong family ties or Prince Fagbemi, Chairman of Kwara, a state where I equally grew in, did my secondary school and built a huge political following or FCT chairman from Abuja, where I have lived since 1996 and currently vote from?”
The meeting had Haliru Jokantoro, Niger; John Mamman of Nasarawa; Prince Sunday Fagbemi, Kwara; R. D. Bature, Plateau; Austin Ajade, Benue and Abdulmalik Usman, FCT and some critical stakeholders, like Senator Makanjuola Ajadi from Kwara and Miko, the 1999 House of Representatives member representing Ogoni, Rivers State in attendance.
In his remark, Senator Ajadi harped on the sterling qualities of Olawepo-Hashim whom he said was a credible aspirant for the party’s position for the office of President.
“If the challenge is to fix the country’s problem, we have a man in this room who has the capacity to do the Job,” he said.
On his part, Miko noted that Olawepo-Hashim was accomplished and untainted.
The parley saw the aspirant explaining his mission and informing the gathering of his intention to formally declare for the race on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
The choice of the date, he explained, was informed by the need to allow “our Muslims brothers and sisters to conclude the observation of the holy month of Ramadan, which will end on April 30.’’
At the meeting, Olawepo-Hashim also noted that the country was currently “really divided along ethnic and religious lines” and re-emphasied his intention to run an inclusive government since “it is very difficult for any party to even produce a candidate right now that can win in more than four zones out of the six zones of the country because of the division in the country.”
He also informed the gathering that at his declaration, he will release to Nigerians his perspectives on important matters they want answers to: Security, jobs, availability and affordability of petroleum products, stable electricity supply, how to tackle corruption, health, education, Infrastructure, etc.