President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Daura explained the reason he trekked 800 metres in Daura after Eid prayers on Tuesday, saying he didn’t do so to prove his fitness.
A statement by Malam Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said Buhari made the clarification during a meeting with representatives of the five local governments in Daura Emirate, explaining that the walk was not meant to score any cheap political goal.
‘This is my constituency, the people came out in their large numbers to see me and the car in which I was being driven had tinted windows.
‘‘They were not seeing me. So, I came down so they could see me. I didn’t need to convince anyone about my health and the decision to contest for a second term – a decision that I made public in April this year,’’ he was quoted as saying.
The statement also said the president used the opportunity of the meeting with his kinsmen to inform them that he had directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the processes of the issuance of loans to smallholder farmers.
‘‘We want to make it easier for them to access the loans, particularly the underprivileged people in the society. It has become necessary for the government to do this because banks will insist on collaterals which majority of farmers do not have.
‘‘For our agriculture policy to succeed, we must be able to reach small farm holders with loans without collaterals. Collaterals are always a problem with smallholder farmers,’’ he reportedly said.
According to the statement, the president highlighted the achievements of his administration on local rice productions which he said had expectedly led to the reduction of imports by over 90 percent.
It also said the president expressed delight that young people were returning to the farms, reaffirming federal government’s commitment to implement policies to promote agriculture.
Furthermore, the statement said the group’s spokesman, Yusuf Bello Maiadua, while speaking on behalf of the civil society groups in Daura Emirate, applauded the president on his numerous achievements.
It quoted him as saying,‘‘You have made us proud, the economy is back on the path of growth and you have laid a solid foundation for the development of the country.”
lt also said Maiadua who told the president about the plans of the Daura Emirate to organise a massive rally for his 2019 campaign as soon as the ban on political campaign is lifted, invited him to make out time to attend.