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Tinubu deploys Shettima in S’East to mobilise votes amid APC stakeholders’ discord

By Leo Sobechi, Abuja
17 January 2023   |   4:15 am
Following a preliminary review of the election environment across the federation, presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has mandated his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, to move into the Southeast and appropriate maximum votes from the zone. Shettima is to leverage his extensive network of friends and allies in the region…

ABUJA, NIGERIA – SEPTEMBER 29: APC vice-presidential candidate Kashim Ibrahim Shettima attends a ceremony as 18 candidates signed a pledge to ensure peaceful elections in Abuja, Nigeria on September 29, 2022. Adam Abu-bashal / Anadolu Agency (Photo by Adam Abu-bashal / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)

Following a preliminary review of the election environment across the federation, presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has mandated his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, to move into the Southeast and appropriate maximum votes from the zone.

Shettima is to leverage his extensive network of friends and allies in the region to ensure APC gains from the declining appeal of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the geopolitical zone.

Sources within the APC Presidential Campaign Council confided in The Guardian that Tinubu was peeved by the infighting within the Southeast caucus of the party, which became glaring during his recent campaign stop in Enugu.

The decision to move the presidential running mate to Southeast comes on the heels of continued hostilities between Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma, who is APC leader in the zone and other prominent stakeholders, including former Senate President Ken Nnamani, Sullivan Chime and Senator Rochas Okorocha.

Nnamani and others accused Uzodimma, of not only unilaterally imposing the Enugu State chairman of the party, Chief Ugo Agballah, but also mobilising without recourse to other leaders.

The Imo governor was also said to have kept away foundation members of APC in Southeast and enlisting the services of non-members in undertaking various electioneering activities, especially funding and expenditure.

However, the Enugu State Executive Committee denied the allegations, stressing that Senator Nnamani and other Abuja-based leaders, “who have no electoral worth, are merely being petty with frivolous accusation.”

In a statement by state secretary of the party, Robert Ngwu, the executive committee apologised to Governor Uzodimma for the accusations by estranged stakeholders.

While remarking that de-marketing APC has become the stock in trade of the “disgruntled elements,” Ngwu accused Senator Nnamani and his cohorts of feathering the political nest of the ruling PDP in the state.

“It was not enough that these self-styled leaders stayed away from the rally, thinking their absence was not noticed. Still, they engaged in their usual pastime of not only de-marketing the party, but making unfounded allegations and denigrating party leaders in the zone, especially the Governor of Imo State and Southeast Coordinator of Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Council, Sen. Hope Uzodimma,” he said.

He continued: “Although, some were sighted at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu earlier in the day to welcome the party’s presidential candidate, Tinubu, they disappeared to Chime’s residence in Enugu for the infamous press conference.

“The former governor, Chime, was quoted by the press to have said that they were at the airport to receive the presidential candidate, but because of internal issues, they were not at the venue properly for the rally.
“Ordinarily, the APC Enugu State would have ignored the disgruntled leaders, but for their continuous vainglorious bandying of the name of Sen. Hope Uzodimma, a dedicated party leader, who has been making sacrificial efforts to grow the party in the zone.”

He alleged that ever since they joined APC, the combined team of Nnamani, Chime and Eugene Odoh could not boost the electoral fortunes of the party in Enugu State.

Ngwu claimed: “At best, these are Abuja-based politicians, who claim to be APC in Abuja and PDP in the state. They are, indeed, the PDAPC for all intents and purposes. We invite anybody, who cares to carry out a simple investigation of the antecedents of these men in Enugu State since they joined the APC from PDP.
“Unmistakably, they are still tied to the umbilical cord of the PDP, as they had clandestinely worked for the PDP in past elections in the state… This time, these politicians are at it again, scheming for the party’s campaign funds with the same sing-song of entering into a bargain with PDP to be allocated 25 per cent of votes in the state.”

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