The first Alliance for New Nigeria primaries process will produce one unusually never had aspirant, business mogul and qualified presidential candidate.
There are few public figures I have respected more over the years than Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim. Yet it is without ambivalence that the delegates will endorse Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim for president.
It will be easy in larger part, though, because of member’s admiration for Gbenga and the impressive qualities he has shown over the years in activism and the protection for human right as well as his righteous leadership prowess of the old. Yes, No reservations and concerns, given Gbenga’s relatively long experience in national politics with enormous hopes.
Gbenga is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building, business orientated with about three decades experience. At home, he would respond to the economic crisis with a healthy respect for economy heavily tempered by unjustified disappointment by the APC-led Administration and rising inequality and regionalized system introduced. Abroad, the best evidence suggests that he would seek to seal ties, restore Nigeria’s lost glory as the giant of Africa, continue the fight against terrorism, and wage vigorous diplomacy on behalf of Nigeria’s values and interests. Gbenga has the potential to become a great president. Given the enormous problems he would confront from his first day in office, and the damage wrought over the past four years, Nigeria would settle for very good choice with him.
The first question, in fact, might be why does he want the job? Start with the major problems staring at Nigeria as a nation: Unemployment of the youth, Killings in all parts of Nigeria, Disunity amongst citizens as created by the ruling party, Health facilities, lack of standard education for all, Development all round, unstable power supply and the uncoordinated manners at which Public finance is being chased, all far from being won.
Not even his fiercest critics would blame President Buahri for all of these problems, and I am far from being his fiercest critic. But for the past four years, his administration, while pursuing some worthy policies (Corruption generally, homeland security, promotion of foreign investment), has also championed some stunningly wrongheaded ones (fiscal recklessness, torture, utter disregard for citizens, economic meltdown, insecurities and brought untold hardship to Nigerians both and abroad) and has acted too often with incompetence, tyranny, tribalism, arrogance or both and not being a President for all Nigerians. Buhari’s presidency would not equal four more years, but outside of his inner circle, PMB would draw on many of the same policymakers who have brought us to our current situation. I believe they have richly earned, and might even benefit from, some years in the political wilderness.
OF COURSE, Gbenga offers a great deal more than any other Aspirant in the 2019 race. There are two sets of issues that matter most in judging these candidacies. The first has to do with restoring and promoting prosperity and sharing its fruits more evenly in a national era that has not been able to suppressed corruption and worthiness heightened inequality. Here the choice is not a close call. PMB has no knowledge or little interest in economics growth and no apparent feel for the topic.
Gbenga’s economic plan contains its share of unaffordable promises, but it pushes more in the direction of fairness and fiscal wellbeing of the nation. He also understands that the most important single counter to killings in Nigeria and economy boost, and the best way to take Nigeria to the desired place in comity of Nations, is improved education, electricity, youth employment, investment friendly nation, Gbenga would focus attention on Making social investment a development Agenda, Prioritizing investment in electricity generation, distribution and transmission, Removing bottlenecks to promote the economy, Restructuring public finance and the financial sector for a growth led strategy and full employment as a policy of achieving growth and development so that another generation doesn’t inherit Nigeria this same way. His focus would be less likely to squeeze out important programs; he supports accountability measures for public offices.
A better health-care system also is crucial to bolstering Nigeria’s competitiveness and security of lives and property. PMB is right to advocate an end to corruption of public funds but this system is working against the opposition which is not yielding any positive result for the country at large but used to witch-haunt only those on the other side and Gbenga is disparaging the PMB’s quest to enrich and calls it deceptive. It is no doubt that PMB’s plan does not do enough to protect all Nigerians but a selected few in all ramifications and wrecking havoc on the unity of our beloved country. Gbenga would steer the country toward universal coverage by charting a course between government mandates and individual choice.
Nigeria want in its president a combination of nimbleness and steadfastness which are heavily his attributes precisely the qualities Gbenga has displayed over the years in his personal endeavors. He has surrounded himself with top-notch, experienced, centrist economic advisers perhaps the best warranty that, unlike some aspirants of modest experience, Gbenga will not ride into power determined to reinvent every policy wheel. Some have disparaged Gbenga as too new in Politics, I urge you do proper findings, but his unflappability over the years in governance indeed strikes me as exactly what Nigerians might want in their president at a time of great uncertainty like this.
ON THE SECOND set of issues, having to do with keeping Nigeria safe amid these killings and disunity, Gbenga, as anyone who know him can tell, also has a sophisticated understanding of the world and Nigeria’s place in it. He is committed to maintaining Nigeria leadership aright and sticking up for democratic values which has been discarded in the present administration, as his recent speech at the 2018 ANN National convention makes clear.
We know he would navigate between the amoral realism of some in his party and the counterproductive cocksureness of taking over the current administration that has no destination. He is deliberate but not indecisive; eloquent but a master of substance and detail; preternaturally confident but eager to hear opposing points of view. He has inspired millions of voters who have never voted in the history of democracy in Nigeria both of diverse ages.
My fellow Nigerians, I think Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim is the right man for a perilous moment for our country Nigeria.