The All Progressive Congress’ North-East Youths and Stakeholders Forum has reiterated its decision to drop Kashim Shettima as the party’s vice presidential candidate while criticizing Festus Keyamo, the campaign council’s spokesman, for suggesting that the decision was the result of subliminal blackmail.
According to a previous article, the youth organization accused Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the party’s vice presidential candidate, of being inattentive in various operations in his area.
After receiving the assistance he need in securing the VP position, among other things, they claim that Shettima has consistently obstructed their attempts.
Festus Keyamo, a spokesman for the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, quickly responded by stating that similar misunderstandings will inevitably occur in the run-up to a 2023 election.
Although Keyamo acknowledged that some party members had defected to the opposition, he disputed the number of members asserted by the youth organization and promised to resolve their concerns.
The APC chieftain, however, cautioned that it would also be wrong for the support group to attempt to resort to subtle blackmail to have their way.
North-East Youths Speaks
In a statement on Saturday, signed and issued in Abuja by its Acting Chairman, Shaibu Tilde, the youth group said the decision to withdraw support for Kashima still stands.
They argued that the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, lack an understanding of the calibre of people in the North-East the reason he called them cheap blackmailers.
The group further urged Keyamo to compare the total figure of voters in the region released by the Independent National Electoral Commission 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, Sen 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 Barr. Festus Keyamo.
“While we intend not to join issues with Mr Keyamo, we are however obligated to set the records straight so as to mitigate the poignant narrative Mr Keyamo is constructing around our noble group and clear intentions and love for our great party.
“We shall continue with that mantra of speaking out to power for the love of our dear party, the All Progressives Congress not minding whose ox is gored.
“Firstly, it’s clearly manifest that Mr Keyamo does not understand the calibre of youth and the extent of their fibres in the Northeast 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 tuned his war arsenal against his fellow party men with a common goal to win the 2023 election.
“Secondly, we wish to remind Mr Keyamo that we are not seeking empty attention nor do we want to be pampered. It is important to school Mr Keyamo that this group did not emerge from the blues. We have been on this journey from time to set. For the records, this group has spent millions of naira mobilising support for both Sen. Kashim Shettima and by extension the APC.
“Thirdly, Mr Keyamo has blatantly discredited our defection statistics asserting that the entire Northeast region will have nobody to vote for the APC if 8 million voters defect from the party. In his views, the total number of registered voters in the North-East put together will not be up to 8 million but the recent figure of registered voters released by the Independent National Electoral Commission shows that out of the 93.5 million people registered, the North-East region has a total of 12.5 million voters. The figure has therefore vindicated us and expose the ignorance of Mr Keyamo and his skewed narrative on our ground.