We're dumping Shettima for good, North-East youths reply Keyamo
The North-East youths had earlier claimed that Shettima's conduct is chipping away at Tinubu's chances of getting the maximum votes from the region.
The group also condemned the APC campaign council spokesman, Festus Keyamo, for describing their initial warning to dump Shettima as subtle blackmail.
The group's threat to withdraw support for Shettima came following the exodus of supporters of the APC in the region to opposition parties just over a month before the presidential election.
Pulse had earlier reported that the North-East Youth and Stakeholders Forum played a vital role in lobbying the presidency and the leadership of the party to zone the position of running mate to the North East region after the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the flag-bearer.
It's also believed that the group played a key role to ensure that Shettima was considered and chosen as Tinubu's running mate.
Things fell apart: However, the group has now rescinded its support for the former Borno State Governor who they accused of being responsible for the loss of some foundational members of the structure.
Their decision was announced at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, January 12, 2023, by their Acting Chairman Shaibu Tilde.
Tilde alleged that Shettima's actions have led to the defection of the Zonal Women Leader, Amina Manga to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with over one million women in Bauchi and another loyalist of Shettima and Treasurer of the group, Yusuf Banki, who left for the PDP with over 500,000 youths.
They had further alleged that the APC Vice Presidential candidate's nonchalant attitude had continually undermined their efforts, a claim Keyamo described as subtle blackmail.
The group fires back: Apparently not pleased with Keyamo's response, the group via a statement signed and issued in Abuja on Saturday, January 14, 2023, by Tilde urged the Minister to consider the total number of voters in the region released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to determine the veracity of their claim.
The statement read: “In the last 48 hours, the media has been awash with the news report of our position on the vice presidential candidate of our great party. We wish to reaffirm our resolve on the issue and state unequivocally loud that our position to withdraw our support for the vice presidential candidate of our dear party, Senator Kashim Shettima, still stands.
“What has, however, become a source of worry for our group is the unsavoury and scathing attack launched at us by the APC presidential spokesman, Festus Keyamo.
“While we intend not to join issues with Mr Keyamo, we are however obligated to set the records straight to mitigate the poignant narrative Mr Keyamo is constructing around our noble group and clear intentions and love for our great party.
“Firstly, it’s clearly manifest that Mr Keyamo does not understand the calibre of the youth and the extent of their fibre in the North-East region of the party and therefore can resort to calling us names as ‘cheap blackmailers’. This is rather unfortunate that the spokesman of our party has turned his war arsenal against his fellow party men with a common goal to win the 2023 election.
“No one can deny the gale of defection our party has suffered in the region in the last few months. Our group noted with dismay that the Senior Advocate of Nigeria rather than being introspective on the germane issues we raised that are affecting the fortunes of our party in the region chose to play to the gallery by calling us blackmailers and attention seekers. This is unfortunate and quite shameful.”
“Finally, it will do our party much good to address the gale of defection it’s suffering from the region as a result of the action of our vice presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima. Turning a blind eye to grievances will amount to fatal consequences. We the North-East APC youth stakeholders remain committed to the success of our party and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, come February 25.”
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