The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), an umbrella body for farmers, has disassociated itself from supporting Bola Tinubu, the All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate.

Joel Usiagwu, faction chairman of AFAN, Edo state chapter, refuted an earlier adoption endorsement by Bako Dogwo, a rival association president, that Edo state farmers will support Tinubu’s presidential bid.

Usiagwu, while speaking to reporters in Benin City, said Dogwo has allegedly been suspended and therefore has no right to speak on behalf of farmers in the state.

“Recently, he gave a press interview endorsing Tinubu as the preferred presidential candidate for all farmers in Edo State. I have no problem with people endorsing who they want; he may endorse Peter Obi, Rabiu Kwankwaso or Omoyele Sowore, but Bako has no locus standi and no right to speak on behalf of Edo State farmers.

Usiagwu said he was duly elected in accordance with the association’s constitution and urged members to stop associating with the Bako-led faction.

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“We are here to denounce it; he is not a member of the Association of Farmers of Nigeria (AFAN) because his suspension is still pending. A committee invited him, but he refused to honor his invitation and was later suspended.

“We, Edo State AFAN, have disassociated ourselves from him. I am the actual president of AFAN, Edo State Chapter. I was sworn in by the Edo State Chief Judge. We did not do our swearing in ceremony in isolation,” he said.

In response, Bako Dogwo said that the only person who can say “I am not the real president is the national body in Abuja. AFAN is not a product of the Edo State government. It is a government-recognized NGO that is the coordinating body for farmers.

“The government does not interfere in the day to day. If any political party comes to me, I have the right to welcome any party and pray for them, which I did for APC. As a traditional ruler, I have the right to do; as a Nigerian, I have the right to do so; and as president of all the farmers, I also have the right to do it, I don’t do it alone, I do it with my executive. If PDP comes to me, I’ll do the same. If the smaller part comes to me, I will do the same”.

Continuing, the Usiagwu-led faction said that contrary to the statement made by Bako that the Edo state government has done nothing for the state’s farmers, the Obaseki-led government has supported 1,376 small farmers with inputs under the Independent Farmers Initiative. .
“The government is one of our biggest sponsors; They help us to have access to land, financing. The poultry farmers’ association benefits from the generosity of the Edo State government.

The Edo State government put up a N1bn marching fund against Bank of Industry (BoI) N1bn and poultry farmers are enjoying themselves. We are about to make a case for fish, cassava, hog, and corn farmers to also participate in the program.

When someone says that the Edo state government has done nothing, that means it is tantamount to slapping their benefactor across the face,” Usiagwu added.