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.”

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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,” he said.

He condemned what he called the series of “ridiculous votes” ascribed to him in the last election adding that the figures were only allocated.

He stated: “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.

“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.

“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.”

Speaking 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 widespread irregularities. We hope the managers of the process will address these problems and stop further bloodshed in the land.

“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 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”

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