The All Progressives Congress (APC) got its first female presidential aspirant on Thursday as Ms Uju Ohanenye, bought the party’s Expression of Interest and Nomination forms in Abuja.
She told newsmen after picking the forms that male aspirants in the race would not succeed in intimidating her.
“My fear is that men will want to muscle me out, but I am standing firmly for the people I am here to protect.
“They will want to push me over, but I cannot be intimidated. I have been emboldened,’’ she said.
The APC’s Presidential Nomination and Expression of Interest forms sell for N100 million.
Female aspirants, youths and persons with disability vying for any elective office on the platform of the party are to pay 50 per cent of the cost, however.
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Ohanenye said like the male presidential aspirants, she had what it would take to lead the country to the next phase of development.
She said she would withdraw from the race for any aspirant with the vision and desire to address growing poverty and insecurity in the country.
The aspirant stressed, however, that as a mother, she had the magic wand to do things better.
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“It is so obvious and all of us know that it is time for a mother to come on board.
“As it is today, considering the state of insecurity in the country and other things, children need motherly care; we can understand that from their attitude.
“I have never been a politician, but because of what I have seen, I just felt I should come on board.
“The major solution I am bringing on board is to involve the commoners and the less privileged in the governance of the country,’’ she said.
Ohanenye, a legal practitioner, said there was the need to involve the common man in the governance of the country and to create job opportunities for the teaming unemployed youths.
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She said Nigerian youths were very intelligent and should not be allowed to be engaged in anti-social activities.
“I am going to localise the construction of roads and many other things.
“I won’t copy the Westerners all through because they have their ways of constructing roads which makes the construction very expensive,’’ she said.
She explained that locals would be engaged in road construction to get them involved and to enable them to earn incomes to reduce unemployment and keep the people busy and out of mischief.
Ohanenye explained that she was not interested in contesting for the governorship seat in her state because she doesn’t want to be limited to a particular region or place.
“I want to be out for all Nigerians be you Christian, Muslim, male, female; I don’t care. I just want to be there to ensure that everybody feels good.
“Lack of love, selfishness and bias are the causes of insecurity; people no longer feel any sense of belonging or reason to live,’’ she observed.
She said she would support the speculated consensus option to pick APC’s presidential candidate on the condition that the major reason for her joining the race was addressed.
“Those issues concerning the downtrodden must be addressed.
“I don’t really care if any other person other than I takes up the responsibility, but the person must be one who will look into solving the problems of Nigeria,’’ she said.
More than 10 aspirants have so far joined the APC presidential race.
They are Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, APC’s national leader, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation and Sen. Rochas Okorocha.
Others are Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajuba, the Minister of State for Education, Gov. David Umuahi of Ebonyi, Pastor Tunde Bakare and Sen. Ken Nnamani.
Others still are Ekiti governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi Sen. Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Ogun Central) and former two-term governor of Ogun.
The APC special presidential primary convention is scheduled to hold from Monday, May 30 to Wednesday, June 1.
Moreso, after series of consultation with stakeholders across the country, a frontline aspirant in the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has thrown his hat into the ring of the 2023 contest by officially declaring his intention to fly the flag of his party in next year’s presidential election.
Olawepo-Hashim, who is set to pick his nomination form tomorrow at the party’s secretariat in Abuja, said despite the fact that the country “is currently gripped in the claws of insecurity, worsening energy crises due to absence of local refining of petroleum products and inadequate electricity generation, transmission and distribution, a new and better Nigeria is still possible.”
The former presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, explained that the “current political trajectory of the country is dim and dark, as deep ethnic cleavages and bigotry have dominated the landscape, accentuating the crises, undermining any initiative for a cohesive national redemption.”
He added that sadly, “the culprit for this immediate state of affairs are the dominant elite of Nigeria across party lines, whose raison d’ eter has been self-interest and personal aggrandizement, especially in the past 24 years after the unfortunate decades of military rule.”
The aspirant said that although the initial “patriotic national ethos of our great First Republic leaders, which made Nigeria one of the leading countries of Asia and Africa with comparative GDP with Malaysia and Thailand has been effectively buried in the rubbles, yet, there still exists an incredible reservoir of national energy capable of pulling the nation from the ruins and destruction, and for the construction of a new and better Nigeria.”
According to him, “this abundant energy is able to bring light to overshadow the darkness that is enveloping our nation. There is a fire in the belly of an average patriotic Nigerian, which when lit, is able to consume any imaginable size of evil.
“I have stepped out to ignite that fire, in my decision to seek the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during the 2023 elections.
“Mine is not an ambition, but a historic burden. It is a burden imposed on me right from my late teens when as an undergraduate youth activist, my generation committed ourselves to the struggle for social and economic development of Nigeria, as well as to the struggle for democratic rule.”
He added that “there is nothing Nigerians cannot achieve with the right environment and support. I am out to give the leadership to create that environment”, while promising that his “plan to build a new Nigeria as encapsulated in a 50-point agenda will be publicly presented soon by the grace of God.”
The Global Oil Executive said that “a modern Nigeria capable of securing itself from internal and external threats, provide jobs for her teeming youths currently unemployed through a sustainable economic development plan, and reduce the scourge of poverty and corruption is possible and realisable.”
He promised to bridge the existing divides in the nation, heal the wounds and bring our nation back together again.
“By reason of accident, my father came from Northern Nigeria and my mother from the South. Half of my family are Christians while the other half are Muslims.
“I have lived and schooled in both North and South as well as in Europe and America. I know that all human beings are born equal and deserving of equal rights, opportunities and justice.
“I will do justice to all without discrimination on account of ethnicity, religion and gender. This is not another empty promise of another politician. It is who I am,” he said.
Since his activist days more than three decades ago, Olawepo-Hashim has done many things in business, unlike his peers who stay in the traditional comfort zones of running NGOs, media organisations and working in the universities.
As one of the earlier political leaders after the military departed in 1999, he was deputy national publicity secretary of the ruling party and chairman of the party’s Group of 54 NEC members, which he formed.
He resigned from the PDP in 2006 after a lot of disagreements over matters of party’s internal democracy.
He holds Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos; and a Master’s degree in Global Affairs from University of Buckingham in the United Kingdom where he was best student in his cohort.
Olawepo-Hashim in his 50s, is strong on economic issues, national security and national integration, which he has spoken widely on in the past four years.
He has core competences theoretically and practically apart from doing business across many international jurisdictions. He did core courses in International Finance, International Economics and Global Security.