Why I declared for second term ―Buhari
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said that the reason he declared his ambition to seek a second term is because there was too much speculation on the matter and the fact that most Nigerians like what he is doing.
The president made his intention known during the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) last Monday.
According to a statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), on Wednesday, while receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby in London Wednesday, President Buhari said: “I declared before leaving home because Nigerians were talking too much about whether I would run or not. 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.”
The President 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 continuous 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 done to all concerned.
On Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl from Dapchi still being held by insurgents, reportedly because she refused to renounce her Christian faith, the President said:
“We are managing the matter quietly. Making noise would not help. We are collecting as much intelligence as possible, working with the Red Cross and other international organizations. There are too many fraudulent people around, who claim they can do this and that. We won’t deal with them. That was how we got the Dapchi girls back, and the Chibok girls.”
Archbishop Welby said it was always a delight to see President Buhari, “whom I have tremendous respect for,” adding: “You have my best wishes on your recent decision. I read your declaration speech. We are neutral as a church, but we will pray for you. Great statesmen are those who run for the good of their country. We will be praying for you.”
The Archbishop presented President Buhari with a copy of his recent book, ‘Reimagining Britain. Foundations for Hope.’
The president is currently in the United Kingdom ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled for 18-20th of April.
The Archbishop tasked Buhari on the release of Leah Sharibu as well as the ongoing killings attributed to herdsmen around the country.
In a statement he released after the meeting, the clergyman stated: “I also raised the urgent situation of Leah Sharibu – the 14-year old Dapchi Christian school girl still held captive by Boko Haram for refusing to convert to Islam – and urged the President to do everything possible to secure her release,” the Archbishop said.
“It was an honour to meet President Buhari of Nigeria in London today. We discussed the complex security situation in Nigeria and their government’s efforts to address it, and I offered support in seeking a sustainable solution to the herder-farmer conflict.
“I expressed deep concern about the suffering resulting from raids on Christian communities and villages as far south as Delta State. We discussed the causes of such depredations, which have led to very many deaths and threaten an escalation of violence. I urged measures to restore confidence in the neutrality of the state, and spoke of the suffering of the poor in such tragedies.
“I also raised the urgent situation of Leah Sharibu – the 14-year old Dapchi Christian school girl still held captive by Boko Haram for refusing to convert to Islam – and urged the President to do everything possible to secure her release.
“I briefed President Buhari about my pastoral visit to Nigeria in 2014 following the abduction of the Chibok girls, and assured him of my continued prayers for the release of all those still in captivity. The President promised that the Government would do all in its power to secure their release.
“No country or society can flourish without excellent education – so it was good to speak with the President about how education helps tackle poverty. I highlighted the vital role that churches in England play not just in educating a million children, but in providing them with values, identity and purpose.
“Please join me in standing prayerfully with those suffering from the herder-farmer conflict, Boko Haram insurgency, and all those mourning the loss of loved ones. It’s so important that we pray for the peace and progress of Nigeria – and particularly for the liberating peace of Jesus to be with all those held in captivity.”