Ahead of 2019 General elections, three political parties, namely Peoples Trust (PT), Alliance of New Nigeria (ANN) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) on Saturday sealed what they termed a strategic alliance, transforming into a new party called Alliance for Peoples Trust (APC) at the national convention which took place at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja.
The exercise, which was attended by national officers of PT and ANN and witnessed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), later produced Hon. Gbenga Olawepo-Hassim as the new APT presidential candidate.
Olawepo, who has already picked the presidential ticket of ANN, emerged as APT flagbearer, after Lady Funke Obafemi Awolowo, the grand daughter of the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was the sole presidential aspirant on PT platformed, announced her withdrawal from the race, urging party delegates from across the states of the Federation to vote for Olawepo Hassim, who he described as her brother.
The exercise, which was also the first ever national convention of PT, equally witnessed the change of the party logo to a yellow/white/green flag containing two raised fingers in the middle.
While delivering her speech, Lady Funke Obafemi Awolowo said she grew under the tutelage of her grandfather, the sage to become interested in politics, noting that getting herself involved in politics, especially clamouring for a paradym shift in ways things were done in the country, was a dream come true for Chief Awolowo.
“I grew under the tutelage of my grandfather, this is a dream come true for papa that I am getting involved in politics and fighting for a paradym shift for a better country that we have right now,” she said.
While expressing appreciation to the party delegates, the presidential aspirant said it was quite evident that they were all ready and involved to cause a change in the way the country was being run currently, declaring: “I pray that we would get there one day and be relevant.”
Announcing her withdrawal, she said: “I am going to step down for my brother, Gbenga Olawepo Hassim. Just for affirmation, I am stepping down for my brother, Ghenga to emerge the presidential candidate of APT.”
Olawepo Hassim, who was later presented handed over the flag of the party as its flagbearer, In his acceptance speech, lauded Lady Obafemi Awolowo for the singular act, describing her as a worthy grand daughter of the sage.
He also commended the the APT National Chairman, Mr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) and the founding national chairman of ANN, Dr. J. Osi Samuels, for putting a platform that was out to make Nigeria realise her dream for a better country.
The newly elected APT presidential candidate, while lamenting that those ruling the country now were mere beneficiaries of the struggle to liberate the country from the iron grip of the military, but which they did not participate in like he did alongside some people, including the late Chima Ubani.
Giving an insight into what sought of programmes he was set to implement if voted into office, come 2019, Olawepo Hassim said he was poised to build a Nigeria of equal opportunity, with jobs made available to all in need of them and “a Nigeria that would support the dreams and aspirations of her people.”
While promising that he would his campaign team together with people of Nigeria, the presidential candidate assured: “We are ready to deliver a Nigeria that we all fought before 1999. We are ready to ensure that issues of out of school children which was due to lack of required need are resolved”
“I will ensure that we have a Nigeria of equal opportunity and support the aspirations and the needs of the people.
“We would work to ensure that we resolve issues of ethnicity and religion that has affected the country.
“I would not be president of Nigeria that would allow killings of Nigerians. I would not be president of a section of Nigeria but president of the entire Nigeria. There would consequence for anyone that the lives of Nigerians.
“We cannot give Nigeria to apprentice politicians. The next election is about capacity, about competence,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the APT National Secretary, Malam Nasir Kura, while assuring that the party would win the 2019 poll and formed the next government, said the country need a change, a paradym shift, adding that it was when this was brought about that there would be development in the country.
He lamented that Nigerians had been “imprisoned who are just experimenting with our lives and we are saying no to that.”
“We are tired of retired generals and old people of 70years and above. That is why we are saying there must be change and we have people who have the records, the mental capability and integrity to lead us.
“All we need to do is to give them the moral support to make them emerge and deliver,” Kura said.