State House Press Release by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President
on Media and Publicity provides details on why President Muhammadu Buhari chose to contest for re-election. The President said while receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby in London Wednesday, April 11th:
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.
-President Muhammadu Buhari, April 11th, 2018
The President discussed his success in promoting 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.”
Addressing the issue of insurgency and the on-going crisis with herdsmen, the President suggests the problem has been in existence before his presidency.
“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.”
On Leah Sharibu, the Christian Dapchi school girl who is still being held in captivity by Boko Haram, 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 expressed that he was happy to meet with the President and wished him well in his plan for re-election: “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.”