As the campaign for the 2023 elections begins to gather momentum, a former Presidential Candidate and Chieftain of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has urged politicians and major political parties to desist from ethnic and religious tantrums capable of widening the existing gulfs and cleavages among the citizens and voters.
In a release from his Media office in Abuja on Tuesday, Olawepo-Hashim maintained that the campaign outfits and leaders of major political parties in the electoral race are complicating Nigeria’s ethnic and religious relations in their bids to win votes in 2023, instead of focusing on plans to transform the economy and programmes to achieve social and political development, national security and unity.
He added that most of the campaigners are churning out messages with ethnic and religious nuances, nothing that our polity has never descended this low since our independence as a nation and since our return to Democratic rule in 1999.
He recalled that in the first and second republics, the political parties were identified and known by their plans, programmes and principles, unlike the present situation where contestants “are busy talking about tribe creed and crowd they can parade on the streets.”
According to him, “it is time for the leaders of the various political parties to check the activities of their campaigns where their messages seem to undermine our national unity. The INEC, the National Orientation Agency, NOA and other relevant state institutions must step up their games.”
He averred that what serious minded Nigerians are interested in is how to get Nigeria back to a major play in the remaining short time of fossil fuel as a dominant energy source; and how to immediately resolve the debt to revenue crises. Olawepo-Hashim equally called on the politicians to focus on “the fiscal plan to tame cost pushed inflation; high unemployment rate; insecurity and burgeoning poverty pandemic.”
According to him, “the 2023 general election is very crucial for our country as Nigeria is today confronted by a myriad of problems: there is a serious crisis in the social sector like education and health. Despite repeated promises by succeeding governments, corruption is still pervasive, majority of our young people are jobless and losing hope.”
He equally noted that corruption for instance has become one of the major reason for the slow progress and the underbelly of some of the security problems such as banditry and kidnappings.
Olawepo-Hashim concluded that “Nigeria deserves a future that is not defined by a fiendish manipulation of her notable fault lines but by developmental ideas character, record and patriotic principles “.