By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
Disgruntled members of 27 All Progressives Congress (APC) youth groups and the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) have kicked against the selection of Senator Hashim Shettima as the ideal candidate for the party’s vice presidential slot.
The APC standard bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in announcing Shettima as his running mate, had shunned overtures from the support groups and the NYCN for him to pick a young politician as his running mate.
Reacting to the development, the NYCN National President, Solomon Adodo, and the leaders of the 27 APC support groups in Abuja on Thursday, said they stood firmly in their resolve for youth inclusion in governance come 2023.
They, therefore, called on the leadership of the APC, the Progressive Governors Forum and the party’s standard bearer not to take the focus away from the youth constituency for justice and equity sake.
Specifically, they demand the immediate replacement of Senator Kashim Shettima with Dr. Ibrahim Dauda (El-Dabi) as the APC vice presidential candidate before Friday’s deadline by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the substitution of party candidates for the 2023 general elections.
Apart from the NYCN, the APC youth support groups include: the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups, the Yoruba General Assembly, the Ijaw Youths Council, the APC Youths Vanguard, the APC Youth Leaders, the Niger Delta Youth Council, the Guardians of Democracy and Development, the APC Youth Solidarity Network, the Arewa Youth Parliament, the Middle Belt Youth Vanguard, the Northern Youth Congress of Nigeria, the Progressive Northern Youth Forum, the Northern Young Patriots and Professionals, the Kungiyar MATASAN Arewa, the National Association of University Students, the National Association of Polytechnic Students, the Coalition of Ex-Militant Generals, the APC Women Forum, the All Progressives Farmers Associations, the Nigeria Christians Community, the El Dabi Women Support Network, the El Dabi Grass Root Mobilization Movement, the North East Youth Forum, and the Arewa Muso Junanmu (The Northern Connect).
According to a joint communique by the groups, “We, substantive members of the Coalition of All Progressives Congress Support Groups, here speaking in one VOICE and unanimously rejecting in totality the recent announcement of former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima as the running mate to the Presidential Candidate of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Jagaban).
“We call on the Leadership of All Progressives Congress, Progressive Governors Forum and His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reconsider the choice on running mate of the Party, and give support to the Nigerian Youths’ nomination of a young Vice Presidential Candidate by picking Dr Ibrahim Bello Dauda to whom we all rally round and give all our fullest support nationwide ahead of the 2023 Presidential Election.
“This group is standing firm on the Nigerian youths inclusion project and hence urge the APC leadership to give a space to the youths to exercise their civil rights to actively participate and make a choice of leadership.
“The ruling APC and its leadership should hearken to the voice of the Nigerian youth now, as this will reaffirm the much touted promise made by the ruling party APC on Youth Inclusion in governance.
“We also advise the Nigerian political class, the APC Leadership and our Baba, His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to underestimate the rekindled will and determination of the Nigerian Youths to change the political narratives of our noble nation, Nigeria.
“In one voice, we say that this group and other hundreds of Youth Support groups across Nigeria assure APC and our Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of all our unalloyed support and votes ONLY and ONLY, if APC Leadership and His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Jagaban) grants our request and goes by ‘BOLA AHMED TINUBU & IBRAHIM BELLO DAUDA’ mandate.
“The youths will not longer play the role of only supporting the old politicians. We are willing to participate in politics and function appropriately in governance. We remain resolute on this ONLY.”