Abuja — President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in London explained that he chose to seek a re-election because Nigerians appreciate what his government is doing.
According to the President's Special Adviser, Media, Mr. Femi Adesina, the president told the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby, in London when he visited him, that he had to make his intention known in the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held on Monday because people were talking so much on whether he would run or not.
"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," he was quoted as saying.
The statement said the president recounted some successes of his administration to Welby, whom he said he had built a deep friendship with in recent times. Adesina said in the statement that the president told the archbishop that his administration would focus on issues such as security, agriculture and anti-corruption. He added that the President was quite particular about strides in agriculture.
"We have cut the importation of rice by about 90 per cent, 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 was further quoted.
On war against insurgency, Adesina said his principal stressed the need for continuous education of the people, "so that they can be free from religious manipulation," noting that no true religion advocates the hurting or killing of the innocent.
He said Buhari while responding to his guest's comment on clashes between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of the country, said the problem preceded his administration.
"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," he explained.
He also said Buhari lamented that "irresponsible politics" had been brought into the farmers/herders' crisis, but assured that enduring solutions would be found, and justice would be served all concerned.
On Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl from Dapchi still being held by insurgents, following her refusal to renounce her Christian faith, the statement quoted the president as saying:
"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."
He added that Welby said it was always a delight to see Buhari, whom he said he had 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."
He also said Welby presented Buhari with a copy of his recent book, "Reimagining Britain. Foundations for Hope."