By Clifford Ndujihe
FORMER Presidential Candidate, and a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has fingered crude-self interest as a major threat to the 2023 general polls.
He also said that the failure of the government to heed warnings over the issue is adding fodder to the flaming crises in the country and putting the 2023 election in a critical mess
In a statement released by his media office, Olawepo- Hashim recalled that: “On the 1st of January 2022, we warned the nation to take more than a passing interest in primaries of the major political parties, as that is where the real decisions about 2023 elections will be made.
“We added too that the indication is that crude and narrow interests of the various power centres will determine the outcomes of primaries rather than what is best for the country.”
The businessman cum politician had noted that “the purchase of delegates votes like onions and tomatoes, ethnic manipulations and religious bigotry may determine choices rather than the Nation’s Good.”
He lamented that despite “our warning, the scenario above was the process that triumphed as the two major parties and their candidates are not too different in public perception and consideration.
“To prefer anyone against the other will be based on the self interest of the voter rather than public welfare. The third major candidate despite the energy and enthusiasm of a lot of young people invested in his campaign, seems to lack depth in political economy, national security and international relations, to be able to confront the myriad of issues confronting the nation.”
Olawepo-Hashim continued: “We are in a mess right now because the leadership particularly of the two major parties approached 2023 issues on account of narrow self interests rather than National interest.”
He stated that It was more the case in the ruling APC, where a group of “Super Governors shoved the party aside and even the powerful “Villa” apparatchiks watched helplessly as those Governors imposed their will rudely on everyone.
“The way the primaries of the parties were conducted and the way the issues or non-issues were framed is the background to where we are. That is why the parties are not acting cohesively in their campaigns.”
He contended that as it is today, “each presidential candidate is leading a faction of his party, while a sizable group in the same party is opposed to the flag bearer.
“In PDP, it is Atiku vs G-5; in APC, it is Tinubu vs Villa group. There is currently no distinct ideological differentiation in the polity, leaving the country in a real mess.”
Maintaining that the nation must go to election and choose new leaders, he said the “likelihood is that voters who are driven by public good will be looking for candidates that fit their definition of something good not parties.
Such people he argued, “are likely to vote Party A for National Assembly seats, B for President, and C for governor if they are enlightened voters, and that is if the election holds at all.”
He continued: “There is reasonable apprehension that the in- fighting among the powerful may snowball to something unpredictable if the brake is not applied to the dance of shame by Nigeria’s dominant political elite.
“If elections manage to hold, we can only count on luck that the winner will be responsible enough to form a Government of National Unity and begin to bring the nation together.”
He urgedNigerian citizens to “up their games to ensure that they begin to construct issue driven politics where public good will be at the centre of choices not bribery, narrow self interest, religious bigotry and ethnic consideration.”
“This is the only way to avoid the current mess in the next election season,” he said.
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