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Buhari gives reasons why he declared for reelection before travelling

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari waves at the crowd in Lagos, on March 29, 2018, as he attends the rally organized to celebrate the 66th birthday of the leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. / AFP PHOTO / STEFAN HEUNIS

President Muhammadu Buhari has explained his Monday’s declaration of his intention to run for another term in office during the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

President Buhari said he declared because Nigerians were talking too much and he needed to break the ice.

“I declared before leaving home because Nigerians were talking too much about whether I would run or not,” President Buhari said while receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby in London on Wednesday.

“So, I felt I should break the ice. We have many things to focus on, like security, agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, and many others.

“We needed to concentrate on them, and politics should not be a distraction. The majority of Nigerians appreciate what we are doing, and that is why I am re-contesting.”

A statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, and made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday said, ‎President Buhari recounted some successes of the administration to his guest, with whom he has built a deep friendship in recent times, and was quite particular about strides in agriculture.

“We have cut the importation of rice by about 90%, saving billions of dollars in the process. People who rushed into petrol money have now gone back to agriculture. Even professionals have gone back to the land. Nigeria should be able to feed itself comfortably soon. I am so pleased,” the President said.

On the war against insurgency, he stressed the need for continuing education of the people, “so that they can be free from religious manipulation,” adding that no true religion advocates the hurting or killing of the innocent.

Responding to his guest’s comment on the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of Nigeria, the President submitted:

“The problem is even older than us. It has always been there but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region. These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram.

“Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions.”

President Buhari lamented that “irresponsible politics” has been brought into the farmers/herders’ crisis but assured that enduring solutions would be found, and justice is done to all concerned.

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