No fewer than 10 political parties have so far adopted Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim as the joint presidential candidate for the February 2019 presidential election.
Olawepo-Hashim, who originally emerged the candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) has since emerged the candidate of the Peoples’ Trust (PT), while no fewer than 10 other parties have endorsed his candidature.
A statement from his media office indicated that the presidential hopeful would be flying the flag of the Third Force, having consolidated his candidature ahead of the general election.
His party composition, aside the two major parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which is fielding President Muhammadu Buhari and the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) which is fielding former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
The 10 parties that have adopted him as candidate are led by the Olisa Agbakoba-led National Intervention Movement (NIM).
The statement said that Olawepo’s name has since been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the candidate of the PT.
The statement also indicated that more political parties are concluding plans to announce Olawepo as their presidential hopeful in the 2019 election.
“The development would put a lie to the claim out there that the 2019 election is a two horse race between the duo of President Buhari and Alhaji Abubakar, the emergence of the Third Force is a turnaround tonic in the forthcoming election,” the statement read.
The statement further confirmed the integration into the Third Force of the majority of members of the troubled ANN, adding that only a tiny fraction of ANN is parading itself right now.
The Middle-Belt Forum had earlier shortlisted Olawepo-Hashim among four of its prominent indigenes as likely presidential candidates to represent the region in next year’s presidential poll.
Others who had made the list were a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana; former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia; and former Plateau State Governor, Senator Jonah Jang, amongst a dozen candidates that went through the rigorous screening.
Of the four, only Dr. Malaifia and Olawepo-Hashim emerged presidential candidates, while the duo of Gana and Jang lost out at the primary process.