Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, a former presidential candidate and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has asked Nigerians to be more deliberate about political choices in the next general election.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by his media office in Abuja, Olawepo-Hashim said Nigeria requires leaders who will take the country forward.
He said the country is currently battling challenges such as insecurity, unemployment, poverty and infrastructural decay, adding that the solution lies not in “politics as usual, but through fresh and critical thinking”.
The former presidential candidate expressed concern over the political attitude of the elite, adding that 2022 is the year more Nigerians should be interested in politics as major decisions on the next general election will soon be taken.
“Sadly, our politics has declined from one predominantly driven by public interests and developmental objectives in the First Republic, to one that is largely anchored around parochial and self-interests of political operators, and narrow interest groups, which has brought only backwardness to the people and disorderliness to our country,” he said.
“2022 is when flag bearers of political parties will emerge, and once that process is completed, it becomes easier to predict who will be what. 80% of the decision would already have been made.
“The planning and permutations by the various power centres are not about national interest or development. It is not about how to grow the economy and bring prosperity; not about how to secure the country; not about how to give jobs to the teeming youths, but how to grab power and then wonder how to rule later. In a democracy, elected officials should be servants of the people, not their overlords.
“We need leaders not, rulers. We need patriots and national unifiers, not tribalists. We need modernisers, and not those who will take us deeper backward into darkness.
“Our ancestors built a democracy that in eleven years, became one of the best examples in Asia and Africa. My generation ended military rule that aborted the dream of our founding fathers of the First Republic. Therefore, we can also put an end to the reign of the political locusts that are making nonsense of our hard won democracy.
“We can, at least, insist that politicians with proven records of corruption cannot lead us. We can also insist that politicians who see themselves as our emperors, and the rest of us as their vassals, will further endanger our democracy. We must insist that we are citizens not subjects.”