Rice farmers Association of Nigeria, yesterday, presented a cheque of N56.8 million as their contribution to the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The farmers made the donation, when they visited the office of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
According to the statement by Mr. Simeon Ebegbulem, Chief Press Secretary to the APC national chairman, the rice farmers were led on the visit, by the governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who is the grand patron of the association and its National President, Aminu Goronyo.
Goronyo, who explained that their contribution was in appreciation of the over N100 billion loan facility the Buhari administration has given to the farmers, said they will raise more funds to ensure they support the President’s re-election.
Governor Bagudu, who commended the efforts made so far by the administration to encourage rice farming in Nigeria, said the efforts has yielded fruit as the cost of a bag of rice today is N13,000. He added that most of the farmers are today millionaires.
Oshiomhole, who mocked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for being jealous of the support being enjoyed by President Buhari across the country, said: “Our opponents were jittery, when some faceless people contributed money for one of the aspirants of PDP. He looked at them and said I have enough to buy all of you, he cried a little bit just for the effect.
“Not a word was spoken in the media about the morality or the legality or illegality of it. I thought the media will ask questions about the morality of those who have nothing giving to the rich. Our own President who does not have, but some people deiced to raise money to buy his form, suddenly it became an issue that why should people buy nomination forms for aspirants.
“But let me say that we need Nigerians who are committed to policy stability and who believe in a candidate to raise funds not only for the form but for mass mobilization. In the case of our President, he will even need more money because our party’s decision is that we have to organize direct primaries and we need money. But I am glad it is the confidence Nigerians have on the leadership of our President that see different groups contributing money for his campaign.”
Oshiomhole who alleged that the immediate past PDP-led administration gave Nigerians poisonous rice,said: “One of the scandal that we have had to deal with when I was governor, was when I had the honour to preside over a meeting of the governors and the former Custom Controller General was lamenting to us how people they granted waiver to import rice exceeded the quota they were given and imported more rice into the country and he claimed that they defrauded the Federal Government of about N22 billion in waivers and in excess of what they brought in.”
He added: “Why today I celebrate the defeat of the PDP and I don’t hide it, is that those criminal act of poisonous rice being imported into Nigeria was done not through the back door. We saw PDP ministers lamenting that the rice in our markets were expired products and I asked, who elected them to lament? They allowed this expired rice into the country, they proceeded to grant them waivers, they exceed the waivers they were given. Even former President Goodluck Jonathan lamented that they must recover the excess money from these people.
“So, President Buhari has made a revolutionary intervention in the economic life of our country. And for me, I have always said, habits don’t change through persuasion. There is no Nigerian living, who can go to our President to say, help me get waivers, let me bring in this prohibited items or please help me talk to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to remove rice importation from the prohibited list. That has been the strength of this government and that explains the courage of the CBN to remain faithful to those prohibited items.
“Our President protested that the fee we are charging for our presidential nomination form was too high, that it is beyond his income. We said well there are real cost we intend to incur in conducting transparent primaries across the country and we have to pay for it. But I told him that ‘sir, you have many admirers who will contribute the money.”
“So, I am very excited about where we are. Those people who have milked Nigeria dry, who turned public policies upside down and revised them every other week depending on who has connection, mounted a lot of pressure on this government to revise the attempt to restrict and to prohibit the importation of rice.
“And to play back history, we have never been short of ideas, what has been lacking is the will to sustain what is right even in the face of some economic cockroaches that always manipulate the corridors of power to compel administrations after administrations to abandon laudable projects.”
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