Rice farmers Association of Nigeria, Tuesday presented a cheque of N56.8 million to the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole as part of their contributions for the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group’s donation came just as Oshiomhole, who reacted to comments by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential aspirants said they are jittery ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The rice farmers were led to the APC’s national secretariat by the Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and the National President of the association, Aminu Goronyo.
Goronyo, said their contribution was in appreciation to the over N100 billion loan facilities the President Buhari-led administration had given to the farmers.
Oshiomhole said President Buhari had already won the presidential election with the support already received by 12.2 million rice farmers across the country, who are registered voters.
In a statement issued yesterday by Oshiomhole’s Chief Press Secretary, Simon Ebegbulem, Governor Bagudu, commended the efforts made so far by the President Buhari-led administration to encourage rice farming in Nigeria, adding that “the efforts had yielded fruit as the cost of a bag of rice today is N13,000”.
He also said that most of the farmers are today’s millionaires.
Speaking against the background of criticisms by the PDP over the donation of N45 million by a group to purchase expression of interest and nomination forms for the president, Oshiomhole, mocked the PDP saying they were jealous of the support being enjoyed by President Buhari across the country.
He said, “our opponents who are 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 what is the morality of those who have nothing giving to the rich?.
“When our own President who does not have, some people tried to raise money to buy his form, suddenly it became an issue that why should people buy nomination forms for aspirants. Oshiomhole spoke of how the party arrived at the cost of nomination form, saying it had to explain to the President that the cost of conducting transparent primaries across the country will be very high and has to be met.
“I told him that Sir, you have many admirers who will contribute the money,” Oshiomhole said.
He said in the case of President Buhari will need even more money to prosecute his election because of the party’s decision to hold direct primaries.
“But I am glad it is the confidence Nigerians have on the leadership of our President that different groups are contributing money for his campaign,” he said.
While tackling the PDP, Oshiomhole accused the party of being involved in many scandals among which was the allegation that its administration once gave Nigerians poisonous rice.
“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 about N22 billion in waivers and in excess of what they brought in.
“My quarrel with the PDP government, why today I celebrate the defeat of the PDP and I don’t hide it, 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 proceed to grant them waivers, they exceed the waivers they are given,” he said.