- The Middle Belt region have decided to take their own destiny into their hands ahead of the 2019 presidential election
- Elders in the region have shortlisted four presidential aspirants from the region to be presented to other regions
- One of them is frontline businessman Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim and a former minister of information, Professor Jerry Gana
The Middle Belt Forum have shortlisted four presidential aspirants from the region to be presented to other regions ahead of the 2019 presidential elections.
Those shortlisted are a frontline businessman, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, former minister of information, Professor Jerry Gana, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, and former Plateau state governor, Senator Jonah Jang.
NAIJ.com gathered that the four politicians were shortlisted amongst dozens of candidates from the region who went through a rigorous screening exercise.
The panel was chaired by Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, who is former military administrator and one time Nigerian envoy to Russia.
Other personalities on the screening panel include former Adjutant-General of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Zamani Lekwot, former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Ishaya Bamaiyi, former governor of old Gongola state, Mr. Wilberfore Juta, former governor of old Kwara state, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, Mr. Sam Ada Maagbe, and Chief John Odakun.
Olawepo-Hashim is the youngest of the aspirants screened and he is seen as a potential force from the Middle-Belt region, good enough to attract first time voters on the national voters register numbering over nine million apart from potential voters from the region, and elsewhere.
The businessman’s urbane and cerebral qualities partly reflected in his feats in the University of Lagos and the Buckingham University, where he was best student in his cohort, winning the MaxBerlof award for Global Affairs were also advantages.
He is also the first elected national deputy publicity secretary of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The other candidateswho made the list of four were noted for also being formidable, given their respective pedigrees as minister, and experienced politician (Professor Jerry Gana); a former state chief executive (Senator Jang); and a former deputy governor of the CBN providing a good ground for understanding the economy, even though lesser known in politics (Dr. Mailafia).
The four are to be presented to leaders in other geo-political regions including the southeast, the southwest amongst others for their inputs.
The Middle-Belt region is an important section in the determination of the nation’s presidential politics, as it comprise notable states like Kwara, Kogi, Niger, FCT, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Borno (south), Bauchi (south), Kaduna, Kebbi, Taraba, and Nassarawa. The Middle-Belt invariably accounts for fourteen of the nineteen states in the north.
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Meanwhile, Olawepo-Hashim recently predicted that both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP will lose the presidential seat at the forthcoming 2019 election.
He made the comment while addressing select journalists in Abuja, on Friday, June 8, adding that Nigerians are tired of the leading political parties in the country and are yearning for a change of the country's political status quo.
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