INTERVIEW: How I’ll defeat Buhari, Atiku, others – Peoples Trust presidential candidate

Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim
Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, Peoples Trust Presidential Candidate

Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Trust in the upcoming 2019 election. He discusses his chances at the poll, why the Buhari administration has failed, Kwara politics and why he left the PDP where he was the deputy national publicity secretary, in this interview with PREMIUM TIMES’ Musikilu Mojeed and Festus Owete. Excerpts:

PT: The election is just a few months away. How prepared are you to defeat the ruling political party and incumbent president?

Olawepo-Hashim: We are very prepared. First, for almost one year now I have moved quietly all over Nigeria establishing the Gbenga-Hashim Organisation and we have members in virtually all the 36 states of the federation.

Anytime we met that time with my friends and allies drawn from literally every ward in Nigeria, they would say ‘we are making progress but this thing is not in the newspaper.’ And I said ‘deliberately so, I don’t want it to be in the newspapers.’

This is because I didn’t want what we were building to be destroyed prematurely because the people I am engaging are very viscous. So we shielded our work at the grassroots from any media attention.

Today you can see the benefit of it. Of the 28 new registered political parties, Peoples Trust put up the highest level of nomination. You must have grassroots structure to be able to achieve that.

Whereas you will see a lot of candidates who have had a lot of attention as new entrants into the polity and are mentioned every day in the media, polling 10 per cent of what were able to poll. That is structural superiority.

Secondly, I have been in partisan politics actively for almost three decades and therefore I am not essentially somebody you will say does not know how to organise a political party. One other thing we have going for us is that there are about 9 or 10 states of APC where they will not be voting for APC candidates, yet they will not leave the party. They will vote for us.

There are also states controlled by the PDP that will not vote for their presidential candidate, yet they are in their party. So, you cannot evaluate our strength simply by the strength of the party but also the strength of our friends who are committed to this presidential bid.

A lot of people may not have the courage to go out of the established parties, but they have made up their mind they are not going to vote or their party’s candidate. So this is going to be a unique election where presidential election people would vote for party A, in governorship election, they will vote for party B. We are organisationally prepared.

The other point is that there are about 15 million Nigerians right now who are going to be voting for the first time and who are not supporters of PDP or APC and who are unlikely to vote for the PDP or APC presidential candidates. So we are targeting this category of voters. So this is not a fluke, it is a very serious thing.

PT: What gives you the impression that these voters will not vote for APC and PDP?

Olawepo-Hashim: Number one, we have engaged them. Two, we have done surveys and you can also do your surveys. Some months ago when we did a survey in Lagos and we were pulling across board, only five per cent were ready to vote for Buhari while only three per cent were ready to vote for Atiku.

I know the political leader of APC is throwing everything into the works. Maybe that five per cent will increase a little bit especially when they rally their political base. We know what their political base constitutes but it will not lead to victory in Lagos and majority of South-west states.

We will take majority of South-weest States and we will take majority of the North-central states. APC will do well in North-west and North-east. PDP is going to do well in a number of South-east states and mainly South-south States but they will find it difficult to win even three states in northern Nigeria.

PT: What of your party?

Olawepo-Hashim: I have just told you. We will do very well in the north, particularly in our base, North-central. We will do very well in the South-west and we will have some good showing even in the South-south and South-east even if we don’t win it at first ballot.

PT: You are very confident given the way you speak and the way you analyse the possibilities of the election. Why do you think people will vote for you? What is new that you are bringing in?

Olawepo-Hashim: Number one, there is no candidate that is contesting that has told Nigerians how he is going to bring prosperity to this country and economic front. I am the only one and people are discussing it.

PT: I know other candidates, including Tope Fasua of ANRP have also been talking about how they will bring prosperity to Nigeria.

Olawepo-Hashim: It is not just about talking about the economy. You are not just critiquing. Look let me give you for instance why our economy agenda is different. The conversation even for a long time has been how to do balance of payment issues, how to eliminate corruption.

These to me are the small issues in the economy. The big issue in the economy, the elephant in the room is that the size of the economy is too small for the size of the population. GDP of $510 billion even at the time when we celebrate that mark in 2013 is nothing for a population of 180 million people.

And even if oil price should be $100 per barrel such as at when we saw some years ago, we had a situation where the total revenue you will take will be less than ($)50 billion. For instance in 2013, Nigeria had about $48 billion from sale of crude oil. Disney World, a company that is marketing entertainment in Florida made the same size of revenue that Nigeria made and there was so much celebration.

That tells you how ridiculous the size of the economy is. So even if an angel were to be managing that economy and no cent is stolen, Nigerians will still be poor because it is a small economy. Nigeria needs at the minimum $4 trillion economy for majority of the people to be able to exit poverty and that is what we have in our new economic development plan. The new economic development plan is to make Nigeria a $4 trillion economy within 10 years and the elements are clearly spelt out.

PT: We haven’t seen any document.

Olawepo-Hashim: You reported it. I did a public lecture six to seven months ago at the College of Post Graduate studies in Obafemi Awolowo University where I laid an agenda for all round development. Eighty per cent of this was about the economy.

Even before I was formally declared, it was spelt out. In 2015 I spoke at the Imperial College London. It’s online, clearly defined, spelt out. So, what blueprint are you looking for that you cannot find? It’s available online.

We have been very clear on our road map to build the economy and to make it a $4 trillion economy. We have been clear with our strategy to build infrastructure. We have been clear with our strategy to build indigenous technology which is key to being a self-reliant economy otherwise even when you have all the money, from sales of primary products assuming the price is even high, it is going to be a logistic nightmare for you to be importing everything that you need.

The critical issue is to have the technological base to be able to produce majority of what you consume locally and at relatively competitive costs and that means a lot of reforms even in the financial sector. I mean you have to deepen the financial sector. Investors and local industrialists and manufacturers should be able to access money at single digit interest rate.

A Chinese manufacturer cannot be taking at four per cent and a Nigeria manufacturing taking at 25 per cent and you want to be competitive. So there is already a 21 per cent differential in terms of your own cost of money. An important part of this strategy will be also from day one when I am going to be making my appointments of who is going to be the governor of the central bank when I become president.

The governor of the central bank must be somebody who aligns with the vision to restructure completely the Nigerian economy, to make it a productive economy. You cannot be a central bank governor that is beholding to the interest of money lender almost in the past 20 years and the bankers and money lender have been controlling the central bank and the central bank has been ordered along their interests rather than along the mandate of building a solid productive economy and creating employment.

So they only see employment creation as CSR (corporate social responsibility) to demonstrate that they are intervening. You are not just supposed to be making tokenist measures of those issues, it should be the core of their mandate. They should manage the monetary policy in such a way that the employment is high, interest lending rate is low, manufacturer expanse, infrastructural expanse. This must be what they are doing but right now they are taking money from the economy and just financing bonds and crowding out the real sector.

Manufacturers cannot take money because all the real money has been taken out in bonds at high interest rates and then civil servants take this money and go and change it in the dollar market. That’s what has been happening

PT: But the federal government has been giving credit for at least rescuing Nigeria from recession and for this…………

Olawepo-Hashim: Who is giving them credit? Are you formulating a question or you want to engage in a debate. Which one do you want to do?

PT: People are praising government and I am saying…………

Olawepo-Hashim: Those people must be living in another Island, not where we are.

PT: The point is there are people who are praising the government for taking some steps to rescue the economy and to put on a path of progress.

Olawepo-Hashim: You know one of the causes of recession in Nigeria is that we have a generation of people who always have very short memories. Anything that happened more than two years ago, they cannot remember.

That is one of the predicaments of this generation – short memory, lack of historical insight and shallow mindset. Since year 2000, Nigeria’s economy only grew consistently at 6 -7 per cent interest up to July 2015 when it went into recession under the APC government.

And as at 1999, it was not exactly that oil price was high. Oil price was as low as $15 in 1999 and Nigeria had foreign debt of over $27 billion and the reserve that was handed over by the military was less than $7 billion reserve. That was how bad things were when the military handed over and the economy was able to sustain 6-7 per cent growth consistently for about 15 years.

When the APC government came in 2015, things were not exactly as bad as they were in 1999 when the military left. The foreign reserve was as high as $30 billion. The foreign debt of the country, in terms of external foreign debt when Buhari came was less than $2 billion.

He was given a very robust economy comparatively to what was handed over by the military in 1999. All the hues and cries of low oil price, oil price under Buhari never fell below $30. In 1999, it fell as low as less than $15 dollars. So what I am saying is that the APC government mismanaged the economy and bankrupted the economy.

There was no reason in the first instance for the economy to go to -2.4 per cent negative growth in July 2015. They mismanaged the economy. Number one, they had no strategy. Number two, they lack the comportment to even seek good advice because people who are running this government are small-minded people who are driven by so much bloated ego over nothing. I mean it’s so disappointing.

PT: Even with people like Osibanjo advising?

Olawepo-Hashim: Osibanjo is a ‘careerist’ who has always offered his good knowledge to advance power around people who are powerful. I remember he was advising (Bola) Ajibola (a former attorney general of the federation) during the military era. They were the ones who prepared my detention under the Decree 2. He is not a democrat. He just survives and he gets whatever he can…

PT: Are you saying that the APC government has brought no value to our country?

Olawepo-Hashim: What value have they brought? They have been spreading misery and poverty.

PT: So we have not made any progress?

Olawepo-Hashim: What progress has Nigeria made under Buhari? You saw the balance sheet from the Brooklyn Institute just this past four months, 1.1 million Nigerians again climbed into acute poverty and yet oil price is as high as it is. So, what is the excuse?

When I was engaging with some of my supporters from Niger State around March this year and they were commenting about my statement on insecurity and how people are being killed. They said ‘Oga, this insecurity has a new dimension in our area, that you know that right now ordinarily people should be planting their yam around Shiroro area.’ They said ‘do you know what happens now? That farmers mark their yam leaves with paint before they bury them undergound because the practice now is that people will go and unearth the yam, go and eat them and some will take it to the market to go and sell.

So in order to prevent people from selling, you have to mark them with paint so that when those yams show up in the market, they will know they are stolen yams.’ Now, the question is – are you going to send policemen to be providing security for farms? That is to tell you how horrible, how terrible the country has fallen under APC. At least we didn’t have a situation where people were unearthing yam.

But when the Brooklyn Institute came up with their statistics which is a product of serious empirical study and merged with the report of people unearthing yam seedlings because of poverty then you have no reason to even doubt that we are in a very desperate situation. That is what the Buhari APC government has brought Nigeria to.

PT: But at least they say they are fighting corruption. Can’t you see value in that?

Olawepo-Hashim: Rule number one, we have very serious ethical issues in this country of which corruption matter is just one of it. I don’t know what you mean by people fighting corruption. I can’t see any corruption they are fighting.

But to be honest with you, I think there are issues that we don’t have to adopt the pedestrian approach to. I think the approach to the issue of corruption is very pedestrian and sometime hypocritical and laughable.

Number one, we need to first of all understand what is sustaining this new corruption lifestyle and attack it with policy at the root and not turn it to a very ridiculous song that sometimes could even be embarrassing for the country because the way they are doing it. Sometimes it appears like they are even de-marketing Nigeria and making Nigeria to look more ridiculous than what it is.

When I was growing up, I grew up at a time when women who were selling things by the road side will indicate by the roadside the price of their wares by putting numbers of stone. People will come, pick those wares and still put the correct value of the money and nobody will take those wares without putting the correct value and nobody who is not the owner of the wares will pick the money and there won’t be anybody there.

So those were Nigerians and it shows that ordinarily Nigerians have integrity. But the society is a bit different now, that they even ready to kidnap the woman selling the ware and ask the community to come and pay ransom before they will release her. That tells you about the complete value environment and this is what we need to deal with and you need a whole comprehensive policy of reform, ethical reform measures, and also political reform to be able to create a new environment that will stop our original value system that drove integrity, that drove accountability, that drove transparency.

So the way they are approaching it is very pedestrian and it cannot be effective. Sometimes, it is in fact hypocritical. One core area I think they have been confused even in their approach to dealing (with) this issue is their unwillingness to decentralise power. There is nothing that fuels corruption like over centralisation. Any system where everybody has to go to one man to get a signature, that man becomes extra-terrestrial. Any system whereby it is only a monopoly institution that offers one given service, that system is prone to corruption.

For instance, when NITEL was the only one offering telephone services, we had only about 400,000 lines to about 80 million Nigerians. Every NTEL territorial manager was extra-terrestrial. He was like an emperor both to extract money, both for recognition in society with people lobbying them. But the moment we allowed other carriers, the price not only crashed.

Do you even know who the MTN territorial manager is? They are the ones competing for your own attention as a subscriber to their network and they are even doing promotion. They even try to know what your birthday is and send you birthday messages in order for you to feel important and you become King. That is the value of decentralisation.

So it is contradictory to me that people who want to fight corruption are so keen on centralising power to the extent that they were even making bills to control power supply and take it to the federal government. So it shows that number one they don’t have a basic understanding of society and that is the number one problem with this government.

They don’t have a standard philosophy; they don’t have strategy for the economy; they don’t have even a coherent understanding of the social problem not to talk about the remedies. I quite understand that they are an array of people that were brought together by the desire to retire Jonathan from the villa. There is no philosophy driving them. They are not even a serious party; they are not a real political and you can see three months to election how much in shamble that contraption called APC is.

PT: When you were coming back after some years in Britain, you were returning to politics, the expectation was that you were going to return to your own party, the PDP which seemed at the time to be preparing very hard to dislodge the APC in the coming election. What changed?

Olawepo-Hashim: They were preparing to dislodge APC but they were not preparing to solve the problem of economic under-development; they were not preparing to deal with the ethical crisis that the country is in right now; they were not preparing to fix education; they were not preparing to fix infrastructure.

As a matter of fact, these ones preparing are parts of the problem. You know that I left PDP in 2006. You knew the circumstances that led to me leaving that party and you also know, because you have been around as a reporter for a while, that the PDP that we formed is not that PDP that we have today.

You know the PDP that we formed was led by honest Nigerians who wanted the military to go and who wanted to build a humane society. These were leaders who were accomplished, cerebral. I was one of the youngest of them at that time. We were inspired by their examples.

For instance, Solomon Lar. He had been governor. A lot of the infrastructure in Plateau State were developed between Dan Suleiman governance and Lar’s After that you could hardly count anything until Jonah Jang came and also did some infrastructure. But those intervening periods, there was just nothing in Plateau.

You can imagine that Solomon Lar died without having a piece of land or a house in Abuja. That is to tell you the selfless style of those leaders. They were not really taken into material accumulation and we were inspired by their good examples, by their courage for the country, by their discipline.

But immediately after we formed government in year 2000, there was a clique in the Presidential Villa headed by the man who wants to be president again now, who was running riot to make sure that all the founders of the party were sacked from the party. And then they created alliances with people who were not part of our struggle to end military rule, people who lacked values, people who lacked ethics, but who could support them to just do anything they wanted to do.

So the PDP became another party entirely. It was not the party that we formed. And then it continuously degenerated until the country was tired of it and justifiably most of the electorate removed the PDP from power in 2015 because it did not deserve as a party to continue in government.

Unfortunately there was no prepared alternative to replace the PDP. The anger against the PDP was such that people who were saying anyone but Jonathan. That was what people were saying. And that is how the APC came in. So I told myself right from 2015 that as long as I live in this country, I think it will not be nice to put the country in such jeopardy where election will be ‘any idiot but the incumbent’.

There must be clear choices based on programme, based on history, and based on policy platform that the electorate should be offered. But if they choose not to take the credible alternative then it will be fair for them to live with the consequence of their choice. But for those of us who have had the benefit of having proper education and who God has been good to and who are in the position to offer alternative, we will not be doing our duty to the country not to offer the electorate the opportunity to make such alternative. I think this is one of the driving force.

PT: Were you not one of those ‘Atiku boys’ back then?

Olawepo-Hashim: No, I was never an Atiku boy. How can I be an Atiku boy? I can’t be an Atiku boy. If you know my history then you will not even venture to say “are you not one of Atiku’s boys?” Number one, we had never been in the same political platform. When we were in PDP, I was of the progressive stock and he was in the Yar’Adua group and they have their own philosophy which is just to organise and take power for whatever reason – just take power, anyhow just take power. We are progressives. We don’t share the same political history.

PT: What is your history?

Olawepo-Hashim: Well, you have sufficient materials on that.

PT: But people who want to vote for you want to know.

Olawepo-Hashim: Well, you know it is a fair statement; your question is a fair question. Why it is a fair question is that like we have said one of the problems of the discourse right now is the lacuna on history which is very deliberate.

In 1984, this man Buhari started the rationalisation of courses, decree. It was one of the reason why Shola Mike and co and some of the patriotic student union leaders then brought up some concerns that why should military people who hardly have secondary education be changing curriculum in universities and schools. And they were very angry.

The military people remove the teaching of history, teaching of some social science courses completely from the syllabus and they were more interested in making everybody become mechanics through the 6-3-3-4 system. They actually assaulted the intellectual base of the country. The product of that is what we are having today.

A lot of graduates don’t even know Obafemi Awolowo not to talk about Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim. They didn’t know Zik or Herbert Macaulay. When you even talk about Obafemi Awolowo they will say is he the one that is playing football, Obafemi Martins? So it is this historical void that makes charlatans to become celebrities.

A large segment of young people don’t even know what happened yesterday. But you know that the kind of education you and I had, you knew what happened 400 years ago. You knew Herbert Macaulay even as a secondary school student, even though you didn’t do history as a major course. So one of the things we have to do today, one of the first assignment is to restore the curriculum to that development oriented curriculum.

Most of the students and young people who went through the 6-3-3-4 system were actually programmed not to be able to think beyond two years back by this set of military elite who didn’t have education, who wanted to impoverish the whole of society. As a matter of fact they were angry with the intellectual base of the country. They were sacking lecturers for teaching what they were not paid to teach and then they assigned themselves the role of changing the whole academic curriculum.

That is one of the most important issue in the crisis of the Nigeria society today. That is more than money matter because when you assault the way a people think, it is the most dangerous wound that you can inflict on a society.

PT: That might be one of the reasons you will have difficulty selling your candidature. How many people know you and what you stand for?

Olawepo-Hashim: I have a lot of advisers now who are working with me and sometimes they caution me. When I say ‘let’s make this statement, they say it’s too long. If it is more than three paragraph, they will not read it’. So they are teaching me how to make it into two paragraphs.

You know the kind of education we had. We will deliver a 15- page paper and even compete with our professors at seminars and symposiums.  They will say ‘no, no, no, when it’s just more than three paragraphs, nobody will read it; oga, we have to make it concise’. So I also acknowledge my limitation and I am allowing a lot of them to run the show.

We are getting the messages out. Yesterday, we trended and we are trending now more. I am also humble enough to listen people who understand what is going on in town. We have a lot of them around so I am confident that we will get our message out.

PT: You ran for governor twice in Kwara on the platform of DPP. Can you win Kwara in this coming election?

Olawepo-Hashim: Let me say this, number one, I am (from) Usuman Ward now. I changed my constituency. I registered in Usuman ward in Abuja. That is where I am doing my politics now and that should not surprise you.  If it didn’t surprise you that Gov. Aregbesola can leave Lagos and go and politics in Osun, it’s the same thing or that Mrs Hillary Clinton can finish as first lady and go and be senator in New York or that Zik was elected into the Western Regional Assembly and still went to… this should not surprise you.

You know these issues about changing constituency. Any Nigerian should be able to run election anywhere he feels comfortable to do so. This is not a local election. I am running for presidency, not to be governor of Kwara State. It is a different election.

Even Obasanjo did not win his ward and still became president of Nigeria. So, these issues are quite different. But we have substantial support in Kwara, even in those towns you are talking about. In 2007, I was the first runner in Bukola Saraki’s election in Kwara and that election was widely rigged. I got about 70,000 votes. The next person to me was Senator Suleiman Ajadi on the platform of AC which had all the big wigs that are in APC today, including Lai Mohammed.

They didn’t have as many votes as I had in 2007 election. They had about 47,000 votes. And then you have Colonel Bamigboye who had about 28,000 votes. Now if you add all those legitimate votes of the three of us together, you will be thinking about 150,000 votes plus and that was the lacuna.

They ‘manufactured’ one million votes for Bukola Saraki in 2007 and they declared him the governor. But in the last election, the total votes in Kwara both APC and everybody was less than 300,000 votes plus. So what happened to those one million votes 10 years ago? Did they die? Did they migrate? So talking seriously, as at 2007, we had the biggest political machine in that place. We still have relatively our solid support in Kwara. We will do well in Kwara. That, I can tell you.

PT: Despite the Bukola Saraki factor?

Olawepo-Hashim: Even when Bukola’s father was the political kingpin, his father never won my base before. In 1999 when we were doing PDP, Irepodun LGA where I was, was PDP. We had a council chairman, we had state assembly, we had majority of councillors and his dad was in APP. And the PDP then in Kwara, in local government election, had 33 per cent of the votes, the AD had about 19 per cent of the vote. His own dad with Gov. Mohammed Lawal and he had about 40 per cent. He didn’t even have up to 50 per cent votes.

So, his dad who was more into politics and more loved never claimed he would defeat everybody in their local government. He was very smart with the way he did his own. For Bukola who is just less than 13 years in politics to come and say that we do an election and everybody will lose in their area because he is the kingpin….. You know he never schooled in Kwara; he doesn’t have friends in Kwara. I schooled in Kwara, secondary school in Kwara. I was a prefect. I was in the School of Basic Studies before I went to UNILAG. Are you saying I don’t have friends?

PT: But wouldn’t you be described as a politician without a base?

Olawepo-Hashim: Right now North-central is my base. As I said to you all that is not important about the way you describe or categorise anybody. Whether he has a base or not does not really matter. It depends on the election that you are running. Obasanjo never became a councillor. But if you don’t put a time limit he would have continued to be president of Nigeria. So, when you are running a presidential election, it is a different thing from the local election.

Those who have local base, how far did they go in the party primaries to become presidential candidates? How far was Bukola successful in his bid to pick the ticket of the PDP? That is a different election completely. So you have to be focused on what you are doing. I am not running to be senator of Kwara or to be governor of Kwara. So, don’t bother me about Kwara issues.

PT: Who are your political godfathers?

Olawepo-Hashim: You know that I have never had a godfather. God is my father who is heaven. Most of the people who inspired me really that I draw good examples from are even late now. Chief Solomon Lar is one of them. They are people that I will say I learnt somethings from.

There were people like Alhaji Abubakar Rimi who were leaders of the progressive segment of the PDP that we were in. Then probably when you were in a radical movement, people like Alao Aka-Bashorun who was leading us and who helped us, who supported us, who guided us. He is also late now.

I have been around in the political terrain for about 30 years. I started early anyway Very few people have my political experience. So none of them is qualified to be my godfather. Is it Bukola Saraki that joined politics in 2003 that will be my father or which one of them will be my political father?

The truth of it is that I am more senior in terms of experience than most of the actors on the political scene. The governor of Sokoto State was a legislative assistant when we were leaders of the PDP. Is he the one that will be my political father now? Which one of them?

PT: A few political parties came together to form Peoples Trust. What was the arrangement for sharing positions and how did you emerge?

Olawepo-Hashim: The thing about Peoples Trust is not about sharing arrangement. This is my natural home. Olisa Agbakoba, Nasir Kura, who is the secretary are people that we were in the trenches together in the struggle against military rule. I have had long standing association with them. So discussion of the People’s Trust is not about sharing arrangement. It is about how to create a new Nigeria where integrity will rule, a new Nigeria with a plan to bring the people out of poverty.

When we were fighting against the military, it was not about what are we going to get because what we got then was being locked up in detention. There was also the possibility of also being killed. As a matter of fact some of your own colleagues like Bagauda Kaltho were killed in that struggle. What brought us together is not sharing.

What is driving the Peoples Trust is an uncommon determination that is rare in this environment right now – to create a new Nigeria and we are set to make a political revolution. Peoples Trust is not about sharing. It is not APC where there are people looking for office to share; it is about how to make a better Nigeria.

PT: What message do you have for Nigerians as we inch towards the election?

Olawepo-Hashim: My message is that everyone should be prepared to make this last attempt to sacrifice something to save Nigeria. We must all make up our minds that whether it is your time or it is your money or is your effort, Nigeria is worth taking a risk for. At least let’s give ourselves another self-imposed duty to make the last ditch effort to save this country.

The killings in the land are just too much. There is too much division, there is too much hatred. We can have a better country and People’s Trust is the platform for that better Nigeria. It is a platform of people with history that have been tested, that have put have put their lives on the line for the country before, people who fought and sacrificed for democracy.

They are the ones that know the value of it and that is why we are all saying okay if almost 30 years ago we sacrificed everything and a lot of hoodlums who didn’t know how democracy was put together started exercising power, without any sense of direction, then we will be doing a lot of disservice to ourselves if we don’t step into the arena and save the situation. So, my message is: everyone out there who has something to do to make Nigeria’s situation better, step out right now so we give Nigeria a better deal in 2019.

PT: Are you saying that if Buhari returns, we going to find ourselves in a worse situation?

Olawepo-Hashim: Right now Buhari is not the one ruling the country and so what you are talking about is even far-fetched. Buhari is not in control of the country right now. So, you can only be talking about if the forces that are micro managing him return.

To be honest with you, I don’t think Buhari himself in his best elements will like the state of the country as it is today. I will accuse those who are micro -managing him of abuse of trust. You see I am not talking so much about Buhari in this interview.

I am talking about the APC and that system because Buhari I know is a gentleman with some integrity. But Buhari has not in the past three years been in his elements. It is such a shame that this man is being abused and the country too is being abused.

PT: Who are those ‘abusing’ him?

Olawepo-Hashim: You know them.

PT: I don’t sir

Olawepo-Hashim: Well find out, you are a journalist.

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