Indication has emerged on how members of the ruling party in Nigeria are allegedly dividing the country as they go about campaigning on issues that cause ethnic disaffection among Nigerians.
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Trust (PT) Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has accused leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of dividing Nigeria with talks of 2023 presidency.
In a statement made available on Sunday, he said that it was condemnable for top officials of the ruling party to keep dividing Nigerians along geopolitical zonal lines by marketing the 2013 presidency among zones of the South.
According to him, the increased ethnicization of the 2019 and 2023 presidency was not only condemnable but also an attempt at “Somalisation” of Nigerian politics.
A statement signed by Olawepo-Hashim’s media office quoted him as slamming officials of the ruling party whom he accused of dangling 2023 presidential ticket as a political carrot, describing them as “agents of ethnic balkanisation and political retrogression.”
He said that it was alarming that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was elected on a pan-Nigerian mandate was leading the ethnicization campaign.
He said: “That reprehensible statement promising 2023 presidency to the South West should never have emanated from the Office of the Vice-President.
“That office transcends tribal thinking. The presidency is and should be a rallying point for all Nigerians irrespective of tribes or religions.”
He pointed out that tribal campaign hinged on 2023 as a promissory note confirmed the shallowness of political discourse as issue based campaigns have been jettisoned by the two mainstream political parties, warning that “Nigerians have grown beyond this bigotry through inter-marriage, electoral endorsement and business union.
“As early as the First Republic, the TIV people elected a Kanuri man as their representative to the Northern House of Assembly. In 1993, late Abiola beat Bashir Tofa in Kano. Today so disappointedly, some top leaders instead of building on our achievements in the area of national unity are busy pushing to split and reopen old animosity and rancour among our people,” he said.
He wondered why politics and campaign cannot be about higher ideals of national unity and prosperity, adding that the presidency of Nigeria should be about merit, competence and passion to deliver on good governance and not about the drumming of ethnic card or the promotion of tribal advantage.
He further said: “The Presidency must be about how further to unite the country, not how to divide it more. It must be about how to bring progress, not how to foster under-development. It is not about ethnicity or religion but on what you have to offer the people and the state.
“Let those seeking re-election campaign on their records. Using state funds to curry votes through trader-moni and other contraptions is very cheap and ridiculous. Let us focus on the realities of under-development threatening our collective existence.
“For me and our party, we preach a pan-Nigerian agenda as a modern state where citizenship is for individuals, not based on ethnic or religion. I will be a President of all Nigerians, regardless of their political, religious, tribal inclinations.”
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