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No Going Back on Our Rejection of Shettima, North-East Youths Maintain

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The North-East Youths and Stakeholders Forum of the All Progressive Congress has berated the spokesman of the APC campaign council, Festus Keyamo, for alleging that its decision to withdraw support for the party’s vice presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima, was a subtle blackmail.

The group’s threat to dump Shettima over the gale of defection that hit the APC in the region came 40 days to the 2023 presidential election.

It had lobbied the presidency and the leadership of the ruling party to consider zoning the position of running mate to the North East region after the emergence of the party’s flag bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at the presidential primary.

The aggrieved youths, however, made a U-turn on Thursday and accused the former governor of Borno State of being responsible for the loss of some foundational members of the structure, including the zonal women leader, Amina Manga, from Bauchi, who defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party with several other women.

They further alleged that his snub and nonchalant attitude had continually undermined their efforts, an act that made Keyamo describe the withdrawal of their support as a subtle blackmail.

While contesting the alleged number of members who had defected from the APC in the North-East, the presidential campaign council spokesperson noted that their grievances would be addressed.

But Keyamo’s statement did not sit well with the group who released another statement on Saturday denying the allegation that their decision was an attempt to blackmail Shettima for money or favours.

The statement, which was signed and issued in Abuja by the group’s acting Chairman, Shaibu Tilde, further urged the Minister of State for Labour to consider the total number of voters in the region released by the Independent National Electoral Commission to determine the veracity 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.

“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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Naja’atu Mohammed Accuses Aisha Buhari of Being Part of Aso Rock Cabal

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A former Director in the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Naja’atu Mohammed, has said that the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, is part of the cabals in Aso Rock.

This follows the statement made by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, that some Aso Rock cabals were working to frustrate the victory of APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, in the forthcoming elections.

She said this Monday morning while featuring on Arise TV Morning Show.

Mohammed said unlike El-Rufai, she was not afraid to mention names.

“Let me tell you one of the cabals is Aisha Buhari. Aisha that is talking is part of the cabals. We knew the cabals of the late Abba Kyari. When she started talking of the cabals, she didn’t have the guts to come and name names. For the first time in Nigeria, I started to mention names.

“She (Aisha) reinforced what El-Rufai said. El-Rufai said ‘the cabals in the villa’, she confirmed it. She is also part of the cabals. I am trained not to say the details. We are trained to leave names. You have to have the guts to give names,” she said.

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Supreme Court Affirms Lawan As Authentic APC Candidate for Yobe North

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The Supreme Court has affirmed the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Yobe North in the forthcoming 2023 general election.

In a majority judgment delivered on Monday, the apex court allowed the appeal filed by the APC against Bashir Machina’s candidature.

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Atiku Support Group Accuses Wike of Arresting Members in Rivers

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The Atiku Support Organisation has alleged that about 30 of its members were arrested by armed policemen during a meeting in GRA, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Sunday afternoon.

The National Publicity Secretary of ASO, Victor Moses, disclosed this in a statement he personally signed and issued on Sunday.

In the statement titled ‘Release our members wow, Atiku Support Organisation tells Gov Wike’, Moses said the meeting was part of preparations for the the Peoples Democratic Party presidential rally slated to hold on February 11.

He said some of those arrested were state and local government leaders of the organisation, alleging that the officers may have acted on the instructions of the state governor, Nyesom Wike.

The statement partly read, “Earlier today, Sunday, at about 2 pm, armed police officers in about six Toyota Hilux marked Intelligence Unit and acting on the instruction of the Rivers State Governor surrounded plot No 3 popularly called White House in Omerelu Street, by Salvation Ministries Headquarters, G.R.A., Port Harcourt, where state and local government leaders of the Atiku Support Organisation were holding meetings as part of the preparations for the Peoples Democratic Party presidential rally slated to be held on 11th February 2023.

“Realising the armed men were sent to stop the meeting, some members escaped through the fence, sustaining wounds caused by barbed wires.

“Over 30 of our members, state and LGA leaders, most of whom are women, were arrested and taken away in two white Hilux of the intelligence unit, while about four Hilux heavily armed with police have sealed up the meeting venue. The said No 3 Omerelu Street, GRA, is directly behind the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt.”

The statement added that none of the phone numbers of those allegedly arrested was connecting.

The group called on Governor Wike to release its members with immediate effect, adding that Wike must end “his do-or-die politics of bitterness and stop instigating violence in Rivers State against Atiku Abubakar’s supporters.”

The group also called on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to order the release of its members and put a end to what it called “political rascality” in Rivers State, and “to avert Governor Wike’s instigated bloodbath in the state during the election,” adding that “Rivers people should and must be allowed to make their political choices freely.”

When contacted, the spokesman for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, said she had not received such report.

Efforts to reach the state Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong, proved abortive as he did not pick several calls
put across to his mobile telephone.

He had yet to respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.

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