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2023: North-East Youths Reiterates Rejection of Shettima Still Stands

The All Progressive Congress’ North-East Youths and Stakeholders Forum chastised Festus Keyamo, the campaign council’s spokesman, for claiming that the group’s decision to stop supporting Senator Kashim Shettima, the party’s vice presidential candidate, was the result of subliminal blackmail.

With 40 days till the 2023 presidential election, the group threatened to fire Shettima over the wave of defections that slammed the APC in the area.

After the party’s flag bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, won the presidential primary, it persuaded the president and the ruling party’s leadership to take into account zoning the position of running mate to the North East area.

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On Thursday, the disgruntled youths reversed course and claimed that the former governor of Borno State was to blame for the departure of several key figures from the structure, including Amina Manga, the zonal women’s leader from Bauchi, who joined several other women in defecting to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.


They also claimed that his arrogance and carefree demeanor had consistently undercut their efforts, which led Keyamo to characterize their withdrawal of support as subliminal blackmail.

The presidential campaign council spokeswoman remarked that their complaints would be handled while disputing the alleged number of members who had left the APC in the North-East.

However, the group took issue with Keyamo’s assertion and issued a second statement on Saturday disputing the claim that their choice was an attempt to demand money or favors from Shettima.

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The statement, which the group’s acting chairman, Shaibu Tilde, signed and released in Abuja, further urged the Minister of State for Labour to take into account the total number of voters in the region released by the Independent National Electoral Commission to assess the validity of their claim.

“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,” Tilde said.

He added, “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.

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“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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