Abuja — A founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, on Wednesday ditched his party and formally joined the All Progressives Congress, saying that his former party does not have what it takes to move Nigeria forward.
Mr. Olawepo-Hashim, who made the formal declaration at a media briefing in Abuja, said he had consulted widely with the chieftains of the APC before moving over to the party given his strong belief that the ruling party has what it takes to protect the unity and progress of the nation.
Olawepo-Hashim, a former presidential aspirant, who hails from the North-Central Zone, said he had consulted and held many discussions with the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, the FCT Minister, Muhammed Bello, the Special Duties Minister, George Akume, the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazak and the FCT APC Chairman before defecting from the PDP to the APC.
And to actualise his membership of the APC, Olawepo-Hashim announced that he had formally registered with the APC at his Usuma Ward in Kwara State and had met twice in the last six months with the National Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party, Mai Mala Buni on his plans.
He said he was drawn to the APC because of President Buhari's passion and determination to tackle corruption in Nigeria despite dubious attempts by his critics to belittle the effectiveness of his anti-corruption crusade and make a mockery of his effort to change Nigeria for the better.
"In deciding for the APC, I have no illusion that I have come to a perfect party or that the struggle to birth a new Nigeria on this my chosen new platform will be easy. I will continue to rely on your prayers and support, the strength of the Lord and his guidance and protection as I embark on this journey.
"Please permit me to state that in taking this decision my long-standing commitment to the struggle for Justice and Equity will not waver just as my adherence to the principles of true federalism will not wane. At the same time my three-and-a-half-decade struggle for the improvement of the welfare of the downtrodden Nigerians will not diminish and I remain solid in my pursuit of a New United, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
"Ironically, the other party does not even care a whim about curbing corruption and regrettably, its members celebrate their newly adopted legacy of graft and display of criminal opulence.
"The other party is a far cry from the community of honourable men and women that it was in 1998 when we launched it.
"I was privileged to serve as the first elected Deputy National Publicity Secretary as well as chairman of the important Group of 54 National Executive Committee members that included a majority of the party's elected governors in 1999 and by the Grace of God today I will be attending the stakeholders meeting of the Federal Capital Territory Chapter of the All Progressive Congress in what is my first public event as a member of the party," Olawepo-Hashim said.