Presidential candidate of Peoples Trust (PT) in the 2019 general elections, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has said that rotation of the presidency in 2023 would be counter-productive to the polity.
To him, Nigeria needs a good president from any region, who is prepared and capable of promoting the nation’s socio-economic development.
Addressing the media in Lagos, yesterday, Olawepo-Hashim said rotation would not foster national unity and development, adding that those who want power must construct a national platform and build a national consensus behind their programme.
According to the businessman, Nigeria needs a president that will unite the country, secure it and transform its economy from under-developed to a modern productive one.
He maintained that the envisaged president “should not be based on tribe, religion or region, but on ability to support the all-round social and economic development and provide sustainable employment for Nigeria’s massively unemployed hands.”
Olawepo-Hashim stressed that “Nigerians from every corner are always ready to vote for a good president when they see one”, recalling that without any zoning in 1993, the late Chief Moshood Abiola got votes from Kano against Alhaji Bashir Tofa, his main opponent, who hails from Kano.
He also recalled that in 1999, “despite the fact that President Olusegun Obasanjo’s home base, the Southwest, did not vote for him, he still became president, based on of votes from the six regions”. Olawepo-Hashim said: “The talk of zoning of the Presidency is, therefore, a false narrative, divisive and inimical to national development.”
According to him, the notion of “ it is our turn president” makes leaders to escape accountability because when he is questioned, the so-called ethnic base and constituents would gather to say ‘you cannot touch our man because it is our turn.”
Olawepo-Hashim warned: “This phenomenon is dangerous for national unity, cohesion and development. And more importantly, rotating the presidency is a pedestrian diversion from the current subject of devolution and decentralisation of power from the over centralised centre to the federating states in Nigeria.
“Nigeria would not become a just and equitable federation, simply because a southerner is exercising the over blotted power at the centre. It will be more equitable and efficient when the powers are devolved more to the states, regardless of who occupies the office of the President.
“Most of the people talking of how Obasanjo, a southerner became president in 1999, were not there in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). They are over simplifying issues. I was one of the conveners of the PDP in 1998. I know the proper context for what was done. It was not as if other people from other zones did not contest against Obasanjo. Alhaji Rimi contested against him in 1999 from Kano; also Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
“In 2003, Chief Barnabas Gemade from the North contested against President Obasanjo. Ditto for Buhari in 2015. Chief Rochas Okorocha from the southeast contested against him.
“The emergence of any particular leader or presidential candidate at anytime is usually a product of intense horse trading, negotiations and bargaining, not outright zoning to any particular region.”
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