Olawepo Congratulates Buhari, Tasks Him To Address Electoral Lapses

Presidential Candidate of People’s Trust (PT), Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim on Wednesday congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his victory in the February 23 election.

Olawepo- Hashim, in a statement released in Abuja said that the President must, however, address lapses noticed during the elections.

The PT candidate Olawepo- Hashim noted that not a few gaps including card reader failures, thump printing of ballot papers, allocation of results, violence and killing plagued the polls, but he added that he was congratulating the declared winner for the greater good, peace and progress of the nation.

He added that his decision to congratulate the President was borne out of respect for the peace accord, which all the aspirants signed.

He expressed his gratitude to the team of supporters whom he said broke the bandwagon and showed loyalty to him, making him one of the frontrunners beyond the dominant party candidates.

The statement read:  “I am particularly thankful to the people of Yauri Emirate and Zuru in Kebbi State who spoke through their votes that family ties cannot be easily broken by politics. While the APC and PDP remained the dominant parties in Kebbi State, the great people of Kebbi State showed loyalty to the bloodline by making sure that People’s Trust emerged third in most of the State. I continued to receive calls of support and solidarity from titleholders in the emirates and village heads who continued to say to me, ‘I hope you saw our hand?’. I saw their hands. The votes were many, not the 96 votes declared by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC.”

He also noted that his party went around the country in the campaign season and that he was one of the few alternative candidates to the two dominant parties in the APC and PDP, who organized rallies and engaged in commercial advertising both on the print and the electronic media right to the last day of campaigning.

Their messages, according to him were clear that Nigeria can indeed build a US$4 trillion economy within 10 years, and that the country can be united and secured, besides the ability to employ youths by creating 4 million jobs per year and paying workers a living wage of not less than N50,000.

According: “We passed a strong message that a ‘new and better Nigeria is possible’. Now the election has been won and lost. It is my duty, as a matter of honour as all contestants signed an accord to keep the peace and congratulate the winner. I, therefore, offer my felicitation to the winner of the 2019 Presidential election, President Mohammad Buhari. I pray for God’s guidance for him and wisdom as he steers the ship of State further in the next four years.”

Presidential election fell below international standard, Olawepo-Hashim says

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The presidential candidate of the People’s Trust, Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, on Wednesday said the presidential election held last Saturday fell below international standard.

He, however, said that notwithstanding the irregularities that characterised the election, he had decided to accept the result and congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari who was declared the winner.

Olawepo-Hashim made his position known in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.

He urged the President to be mindful of the numerous lapses identified in the electoral process.

He said issues, such as card reader failures, thump printing of ballot papers, allocation of results, vote-buying, violence and killing plagued the polls, but he decided to congratulate the winner “for the greater good, peace and progress of the nation and also in compliance with the peace accord, which all the aspirants signed.”

He said, “Although we have accepted the outcome of the 2019 presidential election in the interest of peace and stability of the country, the election fell short of international standard and the standard established at the 2015 election.

“President Muhammadu Buhari must, soon after the governorship and House of  Assembly elections, probe the Independent National Electoral Commission’s inefficient conduct of the election.

“Also, it is about time we had a national conversation on how to unbundle the INEC and have a more efficient and transparent election management process.”

He added, “Now the election has been won and lost. It is my duty, as a matter of honour, to keep the peace and congratulate the winner.

“I therefore offer my felicitation to the winner of the 2019 presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari. I pray for God’s guidance for him and wisdom as he steers the ship of state further in the next four years.”

Tackle lapses in electoral process, Olawepo-Hashim urges President

People’s Trust (PT) presidential candidate Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has congratulated the All Progress Congress (APC) presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, on his declaration as the winner of last Saturday’s presidential election.

He, however, called on the President to be mindful of numerous lapses identified in the electoral process.

Olawepo-Hashim, who ran a robust campaign harping on issues and preferring solutions to them, stressed the need to tackle the noticeable gaps in the elections, including card reader failures, thump printing of ballot papers, allocation of results, violence and killing plagued the polls.

He said he was congratulating the declared winner for the greater good, peace and progress of the nation and also in compliance with the peace accord, which all the aspirants signed.

In a detailed statement, where the politician articulated his positions, he expressed his gratitude to the team of supporters who broke the bandwagon and showed loyalty to him, making him one of the frontrunners beyond the dominant party candidates.

The PT presidential candidate said: “I am particularly thankful to the people of Yauri Emirate and Zuru in Kebbi State, who spoke through their votes that family ties cannot be easily broken by politics. While the APC and PDP remained the dominant parties in Kebbi State, the great people of Kebbi State showed loyalty to the bloodline by making sure that People’s Trust emerged third in most of the state.

“I continued to receive calls of support and solidarity from titleholders in the emirates and village heads, who continued to say to me, ‘I hope you saw our hand?’. I saw their hands. The votes were many, not the 96 votes declared by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”

Olawepo-Hashim was clear in maintaining that his party went around the country in the campaign season and he was one of the few alternative candidates to the two dominant parties, APC and PDP, who organised rallies and engaged in commercial advertising both on the print and the electronic media right to the last day of campaigning.

The PT’s messages, he noted,  were clear that Nigeria can indeed build a US$4 trillion economy within 10 years, and that the country can be united and secured, besides the ability to employ youths by creating four million jobs per year and paying workers a living wage of not less than N50,000.

According to the business mogul turned politician: “We passed a strong message that a ‘new and better Nigeria is possible’.

“Now, the election has been won and lost. It is my duty, as a matter of honour as all contestants signed an accord to keep the peace and congratulate the winner. I, therefore, offer my felicitation to the winner of the 2019 Presidential election, President Muhammad Buhari. I pray for God’s guidance for him and wisdom as he steers the ship of the state further in the next four years.”

He explained that the nation cannot pretend everything has been smooth in the processes leading to the election and the election itself.

“Some of the ugly realities are assignments for political leaders and the entire citizenry to fix in the immediate future with a view to resolving them so as to building a stronger democracy, a more united and prosperous Nigeria,” Olawepo-Hashim said.

The presidential candidate with a rich history of activism alleged an attempt to politically delegitimise the PT, its presidential candidate and other platforms.

He said pursuant to this, were ridiculous votes in the region of 40, 90, 100 in different states allocated by the chairman of the INEC and his team, which the candidate claimed did not in any way reflect the actual number of votes obtained by the People’s Trust in the elections.

“The total votes announced in many States and FCT were in fact less than votes recorded in some and most of the polling units,” he said.

To the gallant contestant, while People’s Trust cannot claim to have out-performed the APC and PDP in any state, in most states of the North-Central and Kebbi State, it recorded votes that place it in the third position.

“Unfortunately, the handler and fixers of the current exercise will rather choose to ridicule the People’s Trust while allocating huge figure to shadowy parties that were deliberately registered and propped-up to give support and legitimacy to the ruling party. The whole idea was started earlier in the campaign season, by scheming the People’s Trust out of the presidential debate and electronic media channels controlled by the ruling party,” Olawepo-Hashim said.

Rather unruffled, he continued: “These political forces, who are not simply contented with rigging elections in 2019 alone, also want to determine the set of political platforms to promote for the future. They want to play God over our destiny. These forces are unhappy that the People’s Trust submitted the highest nominations into offices during the nomination exercise. They are unhappy that we won the online votes among the alternative parties. They have done everything to attack and destroy our platform, but we are undaunted and not intimidated.”

He alleged further that “the odious scheme of this anti-PT forces finally came to the fore when one of the private stations controlled by the ruling party quickly assembled some proxy analysts to lampoon the ‘bad showing’ of some young parties, they immediately launched a deregistration of these parties, even only after the results of only two states had been officially announced, this is how petty, ugly and low, the electoral and political process in 2019 has descended to”.

On electoral irregularities, violence and killings, the business magnate stated that it was noted in many locations and the unusual large numbers of cancelled votes in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa and other areas.

He added: “Incidentally, these states fall within the catchment areas of the People’s Trust (PT). In many states, we have received reports of ballot snatching, delayed arrival of voting materials or deliberate non-distribution of materials and wide spread irregularities. We hope the managers of the process will address these problems and stop further bloodshed in the land.

Other than this, he said in the build-up to the election, following the initial postponement, they envisaged the present scenario and the reason why they requested in their letter dated February 17, 2019 for a four-week postponement of the polls to allow for a properly audited system and a cool-off period from what was obviously a desperate election scenario. Unfortunately, the major parties appear to be interested in having the election anyhow and not properly.

“The outcome of the 2019 presidential elections, even though we have accepted it in the interest of peace and stability of the country, fall short of international standard and the standard established at the 2015 election. President Buhari must, soon after the governorship and state Assembly elections, probe the inefficient conduct of the INEC. It will be time also to have a national conversation on how to unbundle the INEC and have a more efficient and transparent Election Management Process,” Olawepo-Hashim stressed.

On vote buying, he said they “saw massive voters’ inducement with cash, especially by the two dominant parties”.

“Whatever support, therefore, obtained by them has been immorally and illegally acquired. Cash deployed have also been above the threshold set by the electoral act.

“One unfortunate dimension of the vote purchase market in the just concluded presidential election is that the practice was not just driven by unscrupulous politicians desperate for votes but by the demand of about 60% of the voters who turned for financial gratification before voting. Candidates who refused to offer cash-for-votes were generally referred to as ‘unserious candidates’ and severely punished at the polls. Nigerians as a people must have an honest debate about vote buying and its impact on the electoral outcome and governance,” he said.

Olawepo-Hashim said the election showed that the victor has secured a massively tainted victory that lives behind ‘a sour taste in the mouth’ and a broken polity, but it is his responsibility to pick the pieces and heal the wounds that have already been inflicted in the land.

”On my part, I consider it a rewarding participation in spite of the outcome. It is always honourable to stand up for duty to one’s country, regardless of the outcome. I remain undaunted; I remain solid in my faith that a better Nigeria is possible. I pledge to you that you will find me always a willing partner in the unfinished assignment for the peace, unity and prosperity of Nigeria, even as the future beckons,” the PT candidate said.

PT CANDIDATE, OLAWEPO-HASHIM, CONGRATULATES BUHARI, TASKS HIM ON LAPSES

Presidential Candidate of People’s Trust (PT), Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has congratulated the candidate of the All Progress Congress (APC), President Mohammadu Buhari on his declaration as the winner of last Saturday’s presidential election, however calling on him to be mindful of numerous lapses identified in the electioneering process.

Olawepo-Hashim who ran a robust campaign harping on issues and preferring solutions to them, stressed that not a few gaps including card reader failures, thump printing of ballot papers, allocation of results, violence and killing plagued the polls, but he is congratulating the declared winner for the greater good, peace and progress of the nation and also in compliance with the peace accord, which all the aspirants signed.

In a detailed press statement where the usually cerebral politician articulated his positions, he expressed his gratitude to the team of supporters who broke the bandwagon and showed loyalty to him, making him one of the frontrunners beyond the dominant party candidates.

He went on: “I am particularly thankful to the people of Yauri Emirate and Zuru in Kebbi State who spoke through their votes that family ties cannot be easily broken by politics. While the APC and PDP remained the dominant parties in Kebbi State, the great people of Kebbi State showed loyalty to the bloodline by making sure that People’s Trust emerged third in most of the State. I continued to receive calls of support and solidarity from titleholders in the emirates and village heads who continued to say to me, ‘I hope you saw our hand?’. I saw their hands. The votes were many, not the 96 votes declared by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC”

Usually calm and collected, Olawepo-Hashim was clear in maintaining that his party went around the country in the campaign season and were one of the few alternative candidates to the two dominant parties, APC and PDP, who organized rallies and engaged in commercial advertising both on the print and the electronic media right to the last day of campaigning.

Their messages, he noted were clear that Nigeria can indeed build a US$4 trillion economy within 10 years, and that the country can be united and secured, besides the ability to employ youths by creating 4 million jobs per year and paying workers a living wage of not less than N50,000.

According to the business mogul turned politician: “We passed a strong message that a ‘new and better Nigeria is possible’. Now the election has been won and lost. It is my duty, as a matter of honour as all contestants signed an accord to keep the peace and congratulate the winner. I therefore offer my felicitation to the winner of the 2019 Presidential election, President Mohammad Buhari. I pray for God’s guidance for him and wisdom as he steers the ship of State further in the next four years”

He explained that the nation cannot pretend everything has been smooth in the processes leading to the election and the election itself. Some of the ugly realities are assignments for political leaders and the entire citizenry to fix in the immediate future with a view to resolving them so as to building a stronger democracy, a more united and prosperous Nigeria.

The candidate with a rich history of activism alleged an attempt to politically delegitimize the People’s Trust (PT), its presidential candidate and other platforms. Pursuant to this, the series of ridiculous votes in the region of 40, 90, 100 in different States allocated by Professor Yakubu, the chairman of the INEC and his team does not in any way reflect number of votes obtained by the People’s Trust in the elections. The total votes announced in many States and FCT were in fact less than votes recorded in some and most of the polling units.

To the gallant contestant, while People’s Trust cannot claim to have out-performed the APC and PDP in any State, in most States of the North-Central and Kebbi State, it recorded votes that place it in the third position.

“Unfortunately, the handler and fixers of the current exercise will rather choose to ridicule the People’s Trust while allocating huge figure to shadowy parties that were deliberately registered and propped-up to give support and legitimacy to the ruling party. The whole idea was started earlier in the campaign season, by scheming the People’s Trust out of the Presidential debate and electronic media channels controlled by the ruling party”

Rather unruffled, he continued: “These political forces who are not simply contented with rigging elections in 2019 alone, also want to determine the set of political platforms to promote for the future. They want to play God over our destiny. These forces are unhappy that the People’s Trust submitted the highest nominations into offices during the nomination exercise. They are unhappy that we won the online votes amongst the alternative parties. They have done everything to attack and destroy our platform, but we are undaunted and not intimidated”

He alleged further that “the odious scheme of this anti-PT forces finally came to the fore when one of the private stations controlled by the ruling party quickly assembled some proxy analysts to lampoon the ‘bad showing’ of some young parties, they immediately launched a deregistration of these parties, even only after the results of only two States had been officially announced, this is how petty, ugly and low, the electoral and political process in 2019 has descended to”

On electoral irregularities, violence and killings, the business magnate stated that it was noted in many locations and the unusual large numbers of cancelled votes in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa and other areas. “Incidentally, these States fall within the catchment areas of the People’s Trust (PT). In many States, we have received reports of ballot snatching, delayed arrival of voting materials or deliberate non-distribution of materials and wide spread irregularities. We hope the managers of the process will address these problems and stop further bloodshed in the land.

Other than this, he said in the build-up to the election, following the initial postponement, they envisaged the present scenario and the reason why they requested in their letter dated 17th February, 2019 for a four week postponement of the polls to allow for a properly audited system and a cool-off period from what was obviously a desperate election scenario. Unfortunately, the major parties appear to be interested in having the election anyhow and not properly.

“The outcome of the 2019 Presidential elections, even though we have accepted it in the interest of peace and stability of the country, fall short of international standard and the standard established at the 2015 election. President Mohammad Buhari must, soon after the Governorship and State Assembly elections, probe the inefficient conduct of the INEC. It will be time also to have a national conversation on how to unbundle the INEC and have a more efficient and transparent Election Management Process”

On vote buying, he said they “saw massive voters’ inducement with cash especially by the two dominant parties. Whatever support therefore, obtained by them has been immorally and illegally acquired. Cash deployed have also been above the threshold set by the electoral act. One unfortunate dimension of the vote purchase market in the just concluded Presidential election is that the practice was not just driven by unscrupulous politicians desperate for votes but by the demand of about 60% of the voters who turned for financial gratification before voting. Candidates who refused to offer cash-for-votes were generally referred to as ‘unserious candidates’ and severely punished at the polls. Nigerians as a people must have a honest debate about vote buying and its impact on the electoral outcome and governance”

Concluding, Olawepo-Hashim said the election showed that the victor has secured a massively tainted victory that lives behind ‘a sour taste in the mouth’ and a broken polity. It is his responsibility to pick the pieces and heal the wounds that have already been inflicted in the land.

“On my part, I consider it a rewarding participation in spite of the outcome. It is always honourable to stand up for duty to one’s country, regardless of the outcome. I remain undaunted; I remain solid in my faith that a better Nigeria is Possible. I pledge to you that you will find me always a willing partner in the unfinished assignment for the peace, unity and prosperity of Nigeria, even as the future beacons”

Olawepo-Hashim votes in Abuja, asks losers to accept defeat

…congratulate winner

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Trust(PT) Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim said on Saturday that candidates at the presidential election should swallow their anger and accept to congratulate the eventual winner.

Olawepo Hashim, who  voted in Abuja at 12.30 pm spoke to reporters  shortly after casting his vote at Unit 012, Lagos Road Junction, 2-1 Kubwa, Abuja.

He said that whatever the outcome contestants who lose the polls  should agree to  congratulate the winner.

He also added that the winner should be very responsible and magnanimous in victory.

He said: “Nigeria needs to move out election siege that it has gotten itself into which according to him has some implications for the sake of the economy, peace, unity and stability.

“I want to see some matured statements from political leaders. The politics of the country seems seriously broken, we have to pick that together because basically in this election we are supposed to be a vehicle to improve governance not to lower the quality of governance. Otherwise it would have lost its meaning.

“I think the security people have done their job professionally. The political leaders should accept the responsibility of their failures and of their lack of maturity and they are the ones pitting all these various institutions under pressure who otherwise would have been professionals. Our soldiers perform very well when they go peace keeping mission anywhere in the world, but when they come back it’s different. What we have seen is the desperation of political leaders, particularly the two major parties, they have almost brought this country to its knees. From statements we hear to accusations, there are certain things when you say you lead a country you must not do.

“There are issues about the general climate of electioneering in the country, the behaviors of political leaders which have impacted the way the institutions that are managing the election are operating. And then the general political environment which I believe would have been better if we had a cooling off period after the first postponement.

With the evidence before your eyes, I believe that for election to have meaning, it must be a process of peaceful transfer of power, whose outcome is largely susceptible to the participants, once you don’t have a great deal of that, there’s a basis to question the legitimacy of such a process which is not beneficial to peace and stability any country.

“I assumed that we needed some cooling off period after the first postponement, the tension was high, there were various issues about foreign interferences backing one candidate against the other candidate and other salient issues, like I believe the major parties did a lot of vote buying in this exercise which were done through state resources but being that as it may, having said that they were both prepared, whatever is the outcome of this process, the winner should congratulate the loser.”

Ends

People’s Trust Olawepo-Hashim is Most Popular Presidential Candidate on Internet

…maintains lead over Buhari, Atiku in online engagement after election postponement

A few days after the postponement of 2019 Presidential election in Nigeria, the presidential candidate of the People’s Trust (PT), Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has maintained the lead as most popular presidential candidate online.

The weekly social media rating of presidential candidates’engagements
on the popular online platform, Facebook, on Tuesday showed that Mr. Olawepo-Hashim is still
leading as the most popular Presidential candidate online, 3 days to the new date of the postponed election.

The latest data by an Abuja based research outfit, Grand Plan , showed that Mr. Hashim was ahead of the incumbent President and All Progressive Congress, APC’s Presidential candidate, Muhammadu
Buhari and major opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Mr.Hashim who first overtook President Buhari and former Vice
President, Atiku Abubakar on 10th December 2018 , has remained on top
with the highest engagements on social media consecutively ever since.

Going by the data on Tuesday, February 19th, 2019 in Abuja,
Olawepo-Hashim recorded Facebook engagements in excess of 62,000 this
week, while Atiku Abubakar who came behind him, recorded 44,000+.

Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu
Buhari is behind with 40,000+ engagements.

The statistics also showed that the Presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Kingsley Moghalu, the candidate of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) ,Fela Durotoye and others were trailing behind.

Data analysts involved in the polling project ,said that the data on
each of the candidates’ were realistic because “Facebook represents
the broad spectrum of voters who will vote in the February poll.”

According to them, “increasing engagements imply voters’ growing
interest in the candidates while a decreasing result reflects voters’
disenchantment.

A static return means a candidate is at a crossroads in the campaign.”
The analysts said in their report that Olawepo-Hashim’s growing engagement rating is a measure of voters’ interest in him as a third force alternative.

“He is no longer part of the pack of third-party candidates. He has
moved ahead to emerge as a real alternative to both Buhari and Atiku.
This is a game changer from data perspective,” according to Segun
Seriki, the lead analyst for the project.

“The latest data point to a major upset within the struggle for Nigeria’s presidency, we are making the report available to all the
major candidates.”

“Our latest data reflect a major upset in the battle for the Presidency. It is no longer a two- horse race. There is now a third
force that is overtaking the old alternatives. We are still following
the data but for now, Olawepo-Hashim has pulled the impossible to
maintain an eight weeks lead over President Buhari and Atiku
Abubakar,”he said.

Olawepo-Hashim asks INEC to postpone presidential election again

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja 

The presidential candidate of the People’s Trust, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has written to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, asking for the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections rescheduled for Saturday.

He said the one-week postponement of the elections earlier scheduled for last Saturday was too short to address the logistics problems the electoral body said were responsible for the last postponement.

According to a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Monday, Olawepo-Hashim told the INEC chairman in the letter that another extension was reasonable in view of the logistics burden on the contestants and the parties.

He argued that candidates and political parties would now have to repeat logistics preparations that had hitherto been deployed to achieve the level of mobilisation at the February 16 earlier date.

He said, “It is my considered opinion that in the haste to stick to a quickly announced date for the election, the commission may not have paid adequate attention to the attendant voter apathy that may result if adequate confidence building measures are not implemented to win back ‘would-be’ voters for the next date of polling.

“As a result and because potential voters’ apathy in some section of the country or all of the country may substantially affect  the  results of the election, a new date of election should be between three to four weeks from February 16, and not one week from February 16 as previously announced.

“This is more so for self-funded candidates and political parties who do not have the possibilities or intentions of falling quickly on the state treasuries to refinance another logistic deployment.”

He also noted that campaigns should also resume in consonance with extant legislation that allows campaign to continue up till 24 hours before elections.

“The Commission should liaise with the National Orientation Agency who should use its national networks to ensure mobilisation of communities, social and interest groups to reach potential voters in order to avoid voter apathy at the next date of election,” he added in the letter.

OLAWEPO-HASHIM WRITES INEC, SEEKS FURTHER EXTENSION OF POLLS DATE

Third Force Presidential candidate running on the People’s Trust (PT) platform, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has written the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu requesting a further extension of the Presidential and National Assembly elections because the one week extension is rather too short to conclude the stated enormous logistics requirement for the polls.

The candidate, who lately led the online polls of most preferred candidate amongst the third force, argued in a letter to the INEC chairman that another extension was reasonable in view of the logistics burden on the contestants and the parties. The candidates and the parties, he said, would now have to repeat logistics preparations that have hitherto been deployed to achieve the level of mobilization at the February 16 scheduled election.

He stressed that “It is my considered opinion that in the haste to stick to a quickly announced date for the election, the Commission may not have paid adequate attention to the attendant voter apathy that may result if adequate confidence building measures are not implemented to win back ‘would-be’ voters for the next date of polling”

As a result and because a potential voter’s apathy in some section of the country or all of the country may substantially affect  the   results of the election, a ”new date of election should be between three to four weeks from February 16 not one week from February 16 as previously announced. This is more so for self-funded candidates and political parties who do not have the possibilities or intentions of falling quickly on the State treasuries to refinance another logistic deployment”

The candidate regarded as one of the most cerebral amongst the contenders noted that campaigning should also resume undoubtedly in consonance with extant legislation that allow campaign to continue up till 24 hours before elections, in order to achieve the same level of mobilization of voters as before February 16th.

In his letter copied to the United Nations representatives, Observer and Civil Society Groups, the diplomatic community and the media he added that “the Commission should liaise with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), who should use their national networks to ensure mobilization of communities, social and interest groups to reach potential voters in order to avoid voter apathy at the next date of election”

END.

INEC Must Not Put Itself Under Unnecessary Pressure – Olawepo- Hashim

Gbenga Olawepo- Hashim is the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Trust (PT), the party endorsed by a coalition of civil society organisations also known as the Third Force. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he bares his mind on the postponement of the 2019 general elections by the Indepndent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Excerpts:

As one of the presidential candidates contesting in the 2019 general elections, how do you feel when INEC announced the postponement of the exercise?

Ordinarily, it will be disappointing because of the logistics problems and the stress it places on everyone; the electorates, stakeholders and so on. My appeal now is that INEC should get the next postponed date, which is February 23rd right. I wonder why they are in a haste to announce a new date. I thought they should have discussed with the stakeholders that will participate in the elections before they quickly fix another date. The election is not just for INEC. It’s for the voters; it’s for the parties who are nominating agents, who will be mobilising their members. Some of them may have to repeat the cost andthe logistics that they have deployed already. So, INEC cannot arbitrarily postpone the election without consulting with the other stakeholders. What is important is that we should have a credible election and at the end of the day, our country is better for it.

Some are accusing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari of being behind the postponement. Do you also share this view?

This is not the first time we are seeing this. We saw it under former President Olusegun Obasanjo. We saw it under Goodluck Jonathan. Even the election that produced President Buhari in 2015 was postponed by six weeks but Jonathan did not benefit from that postponement. I did not see how the postponement will benefit the incumbent President. But what is important is that INEC must not do things hastily. If they postpone for six weeks under Jonathan, why should it be one week now? Are they saying they would have gotten everything right by next week? So, whatever they have not done right now, can they to do it in one week? They need to do things properly so that we can have a credible election. So, I don’t believe President Buhari has anything to do with this. My belief is that INEC leadership should not put itself under unnecessary pressure. They should do their job properly and let’s have a credible election.

Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim: I don’t see how postponement of election will benefit President Buhari

Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, presidential candidate of the People’s Trust (PT), one of the political parties contesting the postponed presidential elections, has said it is unfair to link President Muhammadu Buhari with the postponement of the 2019 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Olawepo-Hashim, who condemned the hasty decision by INEC without consultations with the critical stakeholders said he did not see how the postponement will benefit President Buhari who is the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

While calling for a free, fair and violence-free elections, Olawepo-Hashim said he doubts if the electoral umpire can get things right in just one week especially given the fact that the 2015 general elections was postponed by six weeks.

“On the issue of postponement, this is not the first time we are seeing this. We saw it under former President Olusegun Obasanjo. We saw it under Goodluck Jonathan.

“Even the election that produced President Buhari was postponed by six weeks but Jonathan did not benefit from that postponement. I did not see how the postponement will benefit the incumbent President.

“But what is important is that INEC must not do things hastily. If they postpone for six weeks under Jonathan, why should it be one week now? Are they saying they would have gotten everything right by next week?”

“So, whatever they have not done right now, can they to do it in one week? They need to do things properly so that we can have a credible election. So, I don’t believe President Buhari has anything to do with this.

“My belief is that INEC leadership should not put themselves under unnecessary pressure. They should do their job properly and let’s have a credible election,” he said.

Source –  Today.ng