By Ayo Oyewole
The 2019 presidential election has been contested and won and the winner, President Muhammadu Buhari and his supporters across the country are still basking in the euphoria of electoral victory.
Mr. Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the February 23, 2019 presidential election won in 19 states mainly in the northern part of the country, polling a total of 15,191,847 votes.
His main challenger and candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, won in 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, polling 11,262,978 votes.
But, while President Buhari appears to be loved by many, the role played by rice farmers under the auspices of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, in ensuring his re-election cannot be over emphasized.
Recall that during the electioneering, rice farmers and fertilizer producers donated N100 each to Buhari’s presidential campaign amounting to a whopping N1.7bn.
The donation, Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, noted was a guarantee of over 12 million votes for the President in the February 2019 election.
BMO had posited that “people who have enough confidence in a person to donate their widow’s mite of N100 each to his election campaign fund will definitely vote for that person, both they and their friends and relations.”
RIFAN president, Aminu Goroyo, had said each of the 12.2 million members of the association had pledged their support for President Buhari. He said the endorsement became imperative in view of the efforts the president had made to drive the nation’s economy through mechanised agriculture.
“With the enthusiasm to promote good governance and corrupt free Nation, RIFAN resolved to support the re-election of President Muhamadu Buhari come Saturday with massive votes,” he told a news conference.
Goroyo, added that the re-election of the president was to ensure Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in food production.
“We are all speaking with one voice, exhibit unalloyed commitment in making sure that bulk of our votes go for President Buhari to achieve the desired transformation for the country.
“The country’s dependence on food imports in the past was hurting local production, reducing farmers’ welfare and contributing to increasing unemployment. The difference is very clear now as the rice import has reduced to 5 per cent and it is only done through the informal process,” RIFAN President noted.
BMO had appreciated the testimonies by RIFAN members, through their leadership, that the anchor borrowers’ programme had yielded the desired result by generating more employment opportunities for our teeming youth in Nigeria, rice sufficiency to the Nigerian populace and easy access to fertilizer; the government programme also ensures that rice import is at its lowest level.
“One can confidently say that President Muhammadu Buhari will get the votes of all the members of these two associations and win in the 2019 presidential election because of his achievements in agriculture and other various sectors,” BMO had said in a statement by its chairman and secretary, Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Madueke respectively.
After the election, the rice farmers who have benefited immensely from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme established by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said they contributed large chunk of the votes garnered by the President in the north.
Determined to carry out its developmental function, the CBN established the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015.
The programme aimed to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities.
programme thrust of the ABP is provision of farm inputs in kind and
(for farm labour) to small holder farmers to boost production of these commodities, stabilize inputs supply to agro processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food.
harvest, the SHF supplies his/her produce to the Agro-processor (Anchor)
who pays the cash equivalent to the farmer’s account.
The broad objective of the ABP is to create economic linkage between smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving capacity utilization of processors.
Recently, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) has created no fewer than 2.5 million jobs across the country.
As Nigerians look forward to the second term of President Buhari, starting from May 29 this year, political and economic pundits opine that the CBN under the leadership of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, should sustain the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, ABP, and possibly extend it to other sectors of the economy across the country.
Ayo Oyewole, writes from Lokoja.