Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The Northeast Youth Stakeholders Forum of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC has cautioned the party’s Presidential Campaign Council PCC against turning a blind eye to its agitation, warning of fatal electoral consequences.
“It will do our party much good to address the gale of defections it is suffering in the region as a result of the action of our Vice Presidential Candidate, Kashim Shettima. Turning a blind eye to the grievances will amount to fatal consequences”, it noted.
The forum had on Thursday withdrawn its support for the vice presidential candidate of the APC, Senator Kashim Shettima whom it described as indifferent to the plight of the party in the zone.
While the PCC said it would intervene in the issue, it had however warned the forum against a resort to subtle blackmail and playing with figures with regards to its electoral importance in the zone.
The forum had noted that out of eight million votes it mobilized for the APC, it had in recent times lost about three million as a result of Shettima’s nonchalance.
“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”, Shaibu Baffa Tilde,acting Chairman of the forum said in a statement on Saturday.
He said while the forum does not intend to join issues with Mr. Keyamo, it was constrained to state that Keyamo does not understand the calibre of youth and the extent of their reach in the Northeast region of the party.
The forum noted that it was rather unfortunate that the spokesman of the PCC has turned against his party men ahead of a crucial election, saying there was no reason to have referred to its members as “cheap blackmailers”.
Part of the statement reads; “No one can deny the gale of defections our party has suffered in the region in the last few months.
“Our group notes 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 instead choose to play to the gallery by calling us blackmailers and attention seekers. This is unfortunate and most quite shameful.
“Secondly, we wish to remind Mr. Keyamo that we are not seeking for empty attention neither 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 the outset.
“For the records, this group has spent millions of Naira mobilizing support for both Sen. Kashim Shettima and by extension the APC. We have held many press conferences and organized strategic meetings with relevant stakeholders within and outside the North-East region all in support of our great party, APC. How can we now stand and watch what we have laboured for slip away from us when we have an opportunity to avoid it? We cannot at this moment risk an avoidable shipwreck by the action of one reckless individual. We cannot simply shut up until the right thing is done for the interest of our party.
“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 view, 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 (INEC) shows that out of the 93.5 million people registered, North-East region has a total of 12.5 million voters. The figure has therefore vindicated us and exposed the crass ignorance of Mr. Keyamo and his skewed narrative on our grounds.
“We the North-East APC Youth Stateholders remain committed to the success of our party and its Presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu come February 25, 2023”, the forum declared.
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