Frontline presidential aspirant and businessman under the platform of Alliance for New Nigeria ANN, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has stated that the next year general elections would be decided by the young people, saying that a party that recognizes the youths as ANN will be victorious in the 2019 election.
He disclosed this on Monday while during the official opening ceremony of the party’s secretariat in Makurdi, the Benue State Capital.
While addressing the teeming supporters of the party after cutting the tape, the Olawepo appreciated the resilient exhibited by the party faithful who came from near and far to witness the epoch-making event.
He, therefore, charged them to go back to the respective wards to intimate other eligible voters to come out en masse and get themselves registered as party members, and as well get their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to him, the next election is going to be decided by the young people of this nation, according to INEC, there are many people who have registered but never voted before and 65 percent of them are young people, knowing fully well that an incumbent president won the election by 11 million against Jonathan’s 9 million and now we have new 9 million that have never voted before and 65 percent of them are young people.
“Any party that recognizes the youths as ANN does, already the party will be victorious in 2019 election.
“By the grace of God, with the young people the party has coupled with great woman mobilizer, we are already forging ahead. The party is already making a difference because it takes a party of a difference to land in Benue within a month and makes its impact known at that rally today.” He stated.
He then appreciated the two former speakers of the State House of Assembly and other stalwarts of many political parties who have signified their interest to work assiduously for the ANN before, during and after the general elections in 2019.
Mr Olawepo-Hashim informed the party faithful that in the past few months, he had visited the state three times, promising to visit the state more three before the general elections.
“I will come three times more because Benue is the heartbeat of Nigeria, is the heartbeat of Middle Belt. Benue people fought for national unity and the defence of the unity of this country when it was under threat. They are very hospitable people who easily accommodate but they are not slaves, they are warriors and when we want to do a battle for a new Nigeria, it is very important to start it in Benue State, so that is why the Director-General (DG) of our campaign is an experienced warrior himself, soldier for democracy, a stabilizer and by the grace of God and with all of you working with us, we will build a new Nigeria.
“The new Nigeria we want to build is a new Nigeria that will give the job to the youths not to be giving them miserable money of N1,000 and use them as thugs. But the Nigeria that will create sustainable employment through agriculture that is linked to manufacturing, where manufacturing will become 40 per cent of our GDP as it is the case in China and 30 per cent India, not civil service job but the job that is attached to industry and manufacturing.
“We want to build a new Nigeria that will support innovative young people so that they can make money from innovation. We will create a very strong patents law that will protect the product of your innovation, that is the country we want to build, a knowledge-based economy.
“I will be the president that will defend all Nigerians, a true Nigeria president and by the grace of God, our mission is possible. The fourteen states out 19 northern states of Nigeria have already decided on a new Nigeria and when decisions like this are taken greatly by the Middle Belt, Change usually happens.
“When the Middle Belt resolves, they can change the direction of the things. And we thank God that the region has resolved for a united Nigeria that will be based on equity, justice, prosperity for all and not prosperity for some people.
Earlier, the National Chairman of the party, Dr Jay Samuel, whose message was delivered by the Vice National Chairman, North-Central Zone, Alhaji Kanti Uthman, told the party members that if more than one million gather at the party secretariat without PVCs, the gathering was of no meaning.
The Director-General, Campaign organization, who was erstwhile speaker of the state House of Assembly, Honourable Terseer Tsumba, in his speech, promised them that their resilience since morning would not go in vain.
He, therefore, prayed that Nigeria would be great again under Olawepo-Hashim’s leadership which would provide adequate job opportunities for teeming youths, thereby discouraging them from looking for greener pasture in foreign counties.
“He cannot make himself a president, he will become the president by the power you people must exercise in 2019. Very soon, money bag politicians will be moving from one place to another, so don’t be bought, secure your future, very soon we will be moving around the wards down to local government and whenever you see us get yourself registered and mobilize people. Stay well, be resolute and committed to ANN,” He stated.
Other dignitaries in attendance at the opening ceremony include former deputy Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly, who doubles as State chairman of the party, Honourable (Dr) Stephen Onmeje; former Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to the governor, now State party secretary, Desmond Atov; former NASS member and Focal person, Buruku, Honourable Tarhule Ndv; former State House of Assembly Speaker and Gubernatorial aspirant Benue State in 2019, Honourable Emmanuel T Ayua; former deputy National Women leader and now State Women Leader of ANN, Honourable (Mrs.) Elizabeth Agi; former member of the State House of Assembly and commissioner, now Senatorial aspirant, Benue zone, Honourable Kwaghbula Simon; as well as Honourable Peter Igba, former member, House of Assembly/Special Adviser to the Governor, Focal person, GHO Makurdi Local Government and former Commissioner, Mrs. Elizabeth Allah, stakeholder.
Others were former Commissioner, Dr Jacob Omenka, lecturer, Benue State University, Makurdi; former member, House of Assembly, Honourable (Mrs.) Christy Adokwu; NASS aspirant; former majority leader, Honourable David Mwar, Focal person, GHO Vandeikya; former Immigration officer, Chief John Echeigbi, stakeholder; focal person GHO, Obi Local Government Area and former Chancellor, Christopher Ijeale; former Secretary of Benue State Electoral Commission (BSEC), Honourable Peter Hwembe, focal person, GHO Gwer-East Local Government Area; focal person, GHO Gboko, LGA, Honourable Iorhaanya; John Maza, stakeholder; former Gwer-West Chairman, Honourable Pius Gugu; former civil servants, Torkwase Ajo and Abu Onun, both stakeholders; as well as Mrs. Ingyape, Leader, Active Women in Politics and former Chairman, Abaji Area Council and former deputy Mayor of the FCT, Alhaji Abubakar Abaji, Coordinator, GHO, FCr.