AFAN leadership crisis: No end in sight?

There seems to be no end in sight to the leadership tussle that continues to bug down the activities of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), JOHN OBA writes. 

The Genesis

All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), an initiative of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who brought three farmer associations namely FOFAN led by Dr Shettima Mustapha, NFAN led by Admiral Murtala Nyako and PFAN led by late Chief Coker under one umbrella called ALFAN and later AFAN with Admiral Nyako as the Chairman of its Board of Trustees is currently engulfed embroiled in a leadership crisis that has threatened the stability of the body for some times now.

It all started when a member and Chairman of the board Admiral Nyako was said to have inaugurated new officials in his Asokoro residence on the premise that the tenure of the current elected officials led by National President, Kabiru Ibrahim had expired.

The crisis further heightened when the minister, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono recognized the Nyako-inaugurated splinter group led by Alhaji Umar Farouk, who is from the ministers home state of Kano.

Kabiru addressing press at the onset of the crisis said the registration of a separate Kano branch of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria by Mr Farouk Rabiu Mudi with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), after his expulsion from the body in 2016 has been declared illegal by the CAC.

Presenting a statement from CAC which reads: “A review of our records revealed that All Farmers Association of Nigeria Kano Chapter was inadvertently registered without the consent of All Farmers Association of Nigeria being sought.”

“Consequently, the CAC directed Mr Farouk and others acting as trustees of the illegally registered body to change its name to a name clearly distinguishable from All Farmers Association of Nigeria within 6 weeks from the date of the letter, pursuant to the provision of section 593 and other relevant provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).

“Note that the change of name is at no cost to the Association. Meanwhile, your Association’s file shall be placed on caveat pending Compliance with this directives and no application shall be entertained. Be guided accordingly,” the letter from CAC stated.

Litigation

However Faruk instituted a case against the leadership of the faction led by Kabiru, at the Federal High Court, Abuja demanding N500 million for deformation of character.

But a press statement release at the weekend in response to the court case instituted by Faruk faction, Kabiru said: “We hereby confirm that and let the word go forth to everyone in Nigeria, especially, the Nigerian Farmers that Faruk Rabi’u Mudi and his cohorts filed a suit against Arc Kabir Ibrahim and his purportedly dissolved executives, at the National, State and Ward level, before Justice Taiwo Taiwo In Court 9, Federal High Court, Abuja. “The matter is yet to be determined.

“It therefore, means that any action by the Plaintiffs relating to opening an office, opening an account and collecting money from the Nigerian Farmers as well as colluding with the Honourable Minister of Agriculture to collect inputs on behalf of AFAN and the Nigerian farmers is FRAUDULENT. They should await the determination of their suit ref:FHC/ABJ/CS/322/2020 dated 5/3/2020.

“The AFAN Constitution Section 7.10 subsection 7.10.1 and specifically 7.10.2 and the letter of dismissal from Kano State AFAN chapter dated 29th December, 2016 signed by the elected Chapter Chairman, Alhaji Abdurrashid Magaji R/Gado support our reference to Faruk Rabiu Mudi as a non member of AFAN and the suspension letters issued to Halidu Yunusa, ref: AFAN /NEC/ Suspension /2020/06 and Adebayo Hammed Ayodele ref: AFAN /NEC /Suspension/2020/01 dated 13/3/2020 respectively make their action fraudulent.

“They sued us at the FCT High Court, Abuja, in a Suit served on us with No. CV/31/3537/20 which they filed since 23rd December,2020 seeking damages of 500,000,000 for calling their Committee fraudulent.

“We maintain that this group is still parading themselves fraudulently by opening an account at Heritage Bank and writing letters to some of our bonafide chapters seeking payment for inputs wrongly channeled through them by FMARD approved illegally by the HMA, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono,” Kabiru said.

He explained further that in the AFAN Constitution there is no provision for Caretaker Committee  after the first election.

And that the Board of Trustees(BOT) of AFAN after the first election comprises of, the registered trustees, the Elected National President together with his 2 Deputies and 6 National Executives drawn from each of the 6 geopolitical zones-see Section 11 A of the AFAN Constitution.

Adding that the claim that Murtala Nyako sat in his living room without other members of the BOT to appoint them as a Caretaker Committee is null and Void.

Minister’s colluding with Farouk

Kabiru further alleged that Farouk has been recognised as the national caretaker chairman of AFAN by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Alhaji Sabo Nanono, and appointed as AFAN’s representative on the special COVID-19 Task force.

Kabiru also accused Nanono, and Farouk Mudi, of colluding to defraud Nigerian farmers by sending letters itemising some inputs for sale at reduced prices to be paid in through Heritage Bank account.

He said, “It has come to our notice that the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and one Farouk Rabiu Mudi are colluding to defraud Nigerian Farmers by sending letters itemizing some inputs for sale at reduced prices to be paid for in account: All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) 5100311797 maintained at Heritage Bank.

“The account is fraudulently operated in an obscure and unsuspecting bank as can be seen,” he said.

He further disclosed that before Farouk’s expulsion from AFAN had contested and lost the Kano chapter election in 2016 to Alhaji Abdurrashid Magaji Rimingado in July, and in December he illegally registered the fake All Farmers Association of Nigeria Kano State Chapter RC 93484 dated 22nd December 2016 with the following as Trustees: Farouk Rabiu Mudi.

Stakeholders reaction

The South-West Chapter, also called for the immediate dissolution of a caretaker committee constituted by the AFAN’s Board of Trustee Chairman, Retired Adm. Murtala Nyako.

Its Chairman, Fale Oke,  made the call at a news briefing recently

Oke said that the South-West Chapter of the association was not carried along in the process and therefore, would not support or recognise the caretaker committee.

He said the South-West Chapter was not in support of the action of the BOT chairman and the purported dissolution of the national executives of the association without due consultation.

According to him, “it is with utmost dismay that we received the news through social media on the dissolution of duly elected national and state officers of our able association, AFAN, by our BOT chairman.

“At meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) held recently in Abuja for the conduct of national executives, a request was made to nominate members to act on electoral committee from the six geopolitical zones of the federation.

“However, states have already conducted their elections, leaving only five states remained due to nonpayment of election fees to the national body of AFAN,” he said.M

Minister’s response

Responding, Nanono dismissed Kabiru’s allegation saying their petition is baseless.

Reacting to the petition through his Technical Adviser on Knowledge Management and Communication, Richard-Mark Mbaram, the minister said he was not interested in the internal politics of the Association, adding that accusing him of sponsoring and recognizing a parallel executive of the association was mischievous and malicious.

The Minister was informed of the fact that the erstwhile executives of AFAN, having served out its term, had been replaced by a Protem Executive to steer the affairs of the Association, pending elections. It is an action taken by the Association, having nothing to do with the minister.

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