•APC rakes in over N7.2bn as Onu, Amosun, Felix, others pick forms
•Yarima joins race, promises to create Ministry for Religious Affairs
By Clifford Ndujihe, Omeiza Ajayi & Efe Onodjae
GOVERNOR of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, yesterday, kept mum as farmers across the country bought the N100m presidential nomination and expression of interest forms of the All Progressives Congress, APC for him.
Operating under the banner of a coalition of commodity associations in Nigeria, the farmers took the decision of purchasing the forms for Emefiele on Wednesday on Wednesday at the end of a two-day intensive meeting in Maitama, Abuja, that drew more than 30 commodity associations from 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
They said the decision was reached having realized that the CBN governor is one of the trusted and tested Nigerians that have the commitment and competence to protect the interests of farmers across the country and give priority to the commodity and agricultural value chain.
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One of the conveners of the meeting, Malam Ibrahim Garba said that the meeting was convened to articulate the position of the commodity associations who are the biggest stakeholders in the country ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He said the robust national security the country needs now can only be achieved through food security. “Agriculture is the key to achieving national security. Through agriculture, millions of Nigerians are economically empowered and gainfully engaged, our industries are revived, a multifaceted value chain ecosystem created, and food security is ensured,” he said.
The commodity associations leaders said in the last seven years, Nigeria has carved a niche for itself as a country that has achieved self-sufficiency in food production.”
One of the farmers’ leaders from the South-East, Chief Madu Ndubuisi, said, the farmers want to sustain this unprecedented agricultural feat hence their support for Emefiele who is the driver of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s agricultural revolution.
It was gathered that the farmers have divided themselves into six zones, with each zone raising at least N20 million. “We have decided that every farmer in the country would donate a minimum of N200 for this cause. We have set the ball rolling. We are not leaving any stone unturned,” Alhaji Mudi Ila, another commodity association leader from Jigawa State, said.
Efforts as of press time to get Emefiele, who had been under pressure to join the presidential race, did not yield results.
Meanwhile, the race for the APC presidential ticket got keener, yesterday, as more aspirants picked the party’s forms just as the ruling party realised N7.2 billion from selling the forms so far.
Onu, Amosun, Boroffice, Felix obtain forms
Also, Saturday Vanguard gathered that a former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the Senator representing Ondo-North senatorial district, Prof. Robert Ajayi Boroffice and the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, have obtained the N100 million Expression of Interest and Nomination forms of the APC.
America based Nigerian Pastor, Nicholas Felix of Miracle Church International also procured the Presidential forms at the APC headquarters on Thursday.
The pastor had, in 2019, contested the presidency on the platform of the Peoples Coalition Party, PCP and got 110,196 votes.
More than 20 chieftains of the party have indicated an interest in the presidency, with many of them already picking the forms.
As of Friday evening, no fewer than 250 aspirants had purchased the party’s senatorial forms, 840 for the House of Representatives and 1,520 for the 36 Houses of Assembly. No fewer than 23 Presidential aspirants had already paid N100 million each for the forms.
They include Senator Sani Yarima, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi; his Kogi State counterpart, Yahaya Bello; National Leader of the party, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu; and Senator Rochas Okorocha.
Others are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, Senator Amosun, Senator Borroffice, and a female presidential aspirant, Uju Kennedy, who paid N30m as directed by the party, among others.
Others who are also in the race are the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, former National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, former Speaker, House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, Governor of Cross Rivers State, Ben Ayade, Ihechukwu Dallas Chima, Usman Iwu, Mr Tein Jack-Rich, Adamu Garba, and Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim.
In an apparent move to allow for more aspirants and equally raise funds for the party, the APC had on May 4 extended the deadline for the sales of its nomination and expression of interest forms to May 10.
Onu, Yarima promise better days
In his declaration, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, said Nigeria can no longer look to foreign countries for its salvation. At his declaration Friday morning in Abuja, Onu said Nigeria has the key to unlock its own prosperity, asking his party and the electorate to elect him as Nigeria’s “Chief Servant”.
“This key is a knowledge economy driven by science, technology and innovation. This is so, because no nation has ever become truly great, whether in ancient or modern times, without the efficient and effective deployment of science, technology and innovation to nation-building.
“I am convinced that I have the knowledge, the experience, the credibility, the education having been trained in one of the best universities in the world, the vision, the integrity, maturity and a man who can be trusted. I most respectfully ask my political party, the All Progressives Congress, to elect me as its Presidential Candidate, and the people of Nigeria to elect me as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for me to be the chief servant of the nation”, he declared.
On his part, Senator Yarima said a lot of people have forgotten where Nigeria was before President Buhari took over power in 2015
He rolled out a three-point agenda that he said would see him fighting insecurity, poverty and ignorance.
“The new dimension of insecurity which is kidnapping and banditry will be a thing of the past if I am elected. There will be community policing.
“You can find an educated person who is ignorant of the law. We are going to make sure that every child goes to school. We are going to have free education from primary to secondary level and there will be a student loans board.
“We will create a Ministry for Religious Affairs and you will have a Minister of Muslim Affairs and a Minister for Christian Affairs”. He said he would uphold the constitution’s guarantee of all Nigerians to follow any religion.