An All Progressive Congress leader and former Peoples Trust presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, warned political actors on Sunday against further widening the existing divide and division in the country in their race and ambition for 2023.
He therefore warned that “the nation cannot afford to let this democratic process fall on the altar of narrow self-interest by politicians who have only a mission of personal ambition and self-glorification.”
In his view, the actors, especially the presidential candidates, in the candidates’ quest for power, rather than addressing issues of concern to the nation, have fueled the passion of tribal and religious anger among the people.
“The point is that there is danger if this monster is not tamed.
Our democracy is in danger of being trapped by a self-inflicted convulsion that could damage the current fragile ethno-religious situation in the country,” he added.
The candidates’ supporters, he added, also ran their campaigns and marketing candidates through intimidation, threats, disinformation and blackmail, without any warning from their principals.
Olawepo-Hashim made the plea in a statement titled, “Don’t divide Nigeria by 2023.”
He said: “Even before independence, Nigeria had a rich history of politics and political campaigning, which gave voters a great opportunity to question the candidates and party programs before making informed choices and decisions.
“Campaigns were built around issues well explained in the party manifestos. Parties were also held accountable for their programs and the candidates followed the party’s line in their conduct and expressions.
“In the first Republic, the four dominant parties: the AG, the NPC, the NCNC, and NEPU were different and original in form and actions to the voters.
“Similar in the Second Republic when we had the NPN, the UPN, the NPP, GNPP, PRP and the NAP who were known for their programs and issues that came up in their campaigns.”
“Unfortunately, what is going on at the moment is contrary to the good old days. While the country is currently held by the demons of insecurity, energy/power, education and unemployment crisis, the parties and political actors are dancing around these critical issues.”
He also maintained that,
“unfortunately the north is currently divided between Christians and Muslims and non-Muslim enough, while the south is torn apart by propaganda that pits Christians from the Southwest against their Muslim siblings; on the one hand, Yorubas against the Ibos on the other, as well as the old against the young.”
The political parties, he said, have lost their voice and supremacy to the raging candidates and their army of supporters.