The leadership of the All Progressives Congress Northeast Youth and Stakeholders Forum has threatened to withdraw their support for APC vice-presidential candidate Senator Kashim Shettima.
The threat, which appears to have caused a stir in the APC camp, comes just 42 days before the 2023 presidential election.
The northeast APC group is arguably one of the dominant voices supporting Shettima’s candidacy following APC standard-bearer Bola Tinubu’s victory after the presidential primaries.
Among other things, the punch reported how the group lobbied Tinubu’s camp, the presidency and the leadership of the ruling party to consider zoning the running mate’s position for the Northeast region.
However, the same political group did a U-turn at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, vowing to withdraw its support for the former Borno state governor for continually undermining its effort.
APC North East Youth and Stakeholders Forum acting chair Shaibu Tilde told reporters that Shetima’s snub soon after her victory led to the loss of some key members of the structure, including Zonal Women Leader, Amina Manga de Bauchi, who defected to the opposition Popular Democratic Party with more than a million women.
Tilde lamented that another Shettima supporter and group treasurer, Yusuf Banki, left for the PDP with more than 500,000 youth.
He said: “We are saddened to be in the news for what others will interpret as a negative reason at this time, but we are also compelled by our love for our great party, the Congress of All Progressives, to make this timely intervention in the face of our good fortune. of the party in the region collapses.
“We don’t need to emphasize that this is discount time for the game because the general election is less than two months away, which leaves no room for error, but instead the focus should be on tightening all the loose ends, which is not the case. with our party in the northeast.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is with deep regret and concern that we report that the fortunes of our great party in the Northeast are on the brink of collapse due to the stubborn, careless, and exclusive leadership style of our vice-presidential candidate, the Hon. Kashim Shettima.
“The North East APC Youth Forum has watched with tears as many of their supporters continue to defect to the PDP. Unfortunately, the trend in the Northeast is getting worse by the day, and Senator Kashim apparently turns a blind eye to these heinous developments in our party in the region.
“We, the North East Youth, have lost our Zonal Treasurer from his home state of Borno, the Hon. Yusuf Shariff Banki, because he did not support the youth of the region to launch a massive mobilization. It is worth noting, gentlemen, that Sheriff brought more than five hundred thousand young people to the PDP.
As if that were not enough, our Zonal Organization Secretary, Hon. Murtala Gamji from Taraba led more than two hundred young people to the NNPP, and our Zonal Women’s Leader, Amina Manga from Bauchi led one million women to the PDP.
“Of the 8 million youth votes we have already mobilized for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, our presidential candidate for the presidential election, Senator Kashim Shettime has already looted more than 3 million through his actions with the wave of defections from our party. . This is simply unacceptable!
“In light of this, we urge our party’s vice-presidential candidate, the Hon. Kashim Shettima, to immediately reverse his steps and correct his mistake for the good of the party, the region and the youth of the team.
“It is on record that this group, then led by its current interim president, the Hon. Shaibu Baffa Tilde, supported Senator Kashim Shettima and committed enormous resources, both human and financial, to ensure he emerged as APC’s vice-presidential candidate.
We are not seeking redress from Senator Shettima, but our resentment stems from Senator Kashim’s failure to acknowledge a formidable party youth force who stood by him through thick and thin after realizing his ambition to come true as Northeastern Vice Presidential Candidate. region.
“As a result, the APC North East Youth Forum wishes to withdraw its unequivocal support for Senator Shettima.
Our actions should not be misinterpreted, but judged by our affection for our dear part.
“While we intend to take the next steps regarding his candidacy in the coming days, we would like to express our unwavering support for our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the APC. We will continue working for the progress and victory of our beloved party in the next general elections”.
Reacting to the threat, Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council spokesman Festus Keyamo revealed that such a misunderstanding will surely occur in the build-up to a major election.
While questioning the alleged number of members who had left the party in the northeast, Keyamo noted that their grievances would be addressed.
However, he cautioned that it would also be a mistake for the support group to try to resort to subtle blackmail to get their way.
“It is an election season. Everyone is important. No doubt about that. We can assure you that any complaints you may have will be addressed.
“However, it is necessary to point out corrections on some things they said. There are many support groups working for the party in the northeast and we will try to give them all the same care. While I agree that we need everyone, we don’t see recognizing some people as better than others. Everyone is important.
“If some groups believe they are the most important or deserve to be pampered more than others, we will not accept it. That would be subtle blackmail. The vice presidential candidate is the one who wants to treat everyone as equally as possible. Obviously he’s not going to coddle some over others. All groups are important.
“Again, the numbers cited in your statement are exaggerated for attention. They do not control those numbers and none of those numbers have left the party.
“First of all, based on APC registration, how many registered members do we have in the Northeast as a party? So that means they’re going to take everyone to the party, right?
“However, we need the group and we are going to talk to them. But they should not be overrated,” she warned.
APC’s Director of Media and Advertising, Bala Ibrahim, also told our correspondent that the issue will be addressed.
He said: “I have brought it to the attention of APC North East Vice President Salihu Mustapha who I believe is in a better position to address your complaints. He knows them and understands the situation on the ground.”