By Tukur Muntari/ Abbas Bamalli/Ismaila Chafe
Kano, Jan. 31, 2019
President Muhammadu Buhari said in Kano on Thursday that his decision to seek re-election was informed by his desire and commitment to correct the ills bedevilling the country.
Buhari made the remark at his presidential campaign rally held at the Sani Abacha stadium, Kofar Mata, in Kano metropolis.
“There is nothing that prompted me to seek re-election beside my desire and commitment to correct the ills of the country.
“I was a Governor, Minister and Head of State and now a President. So, I need nothing less than to ensure that Nigeria attains greatness,” he said.
The president called on all supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to vote massively for the party to ensure its victory at the polls.
“There is nothing new I will tell you but I am here to thank you for taking the pains to wait patiently to see me,” he said.
He expressed satisfaction with the success recorded in the fight against insurgency in the North-East as most of the people displaced by the mayhem had returned to their respective towns and villages following the improvement of peace in the affected areas.
“We promised to fight corruption, insecurity and improve the nation’s economy. We have been able to achieve a lot in these three critical areas,” he said.
Buhari said that the decision by the Federal Government to ban the importation of rice had yielded good results as it had boosted rice production in the country and improved the socio-economic status of Nigerians.
The National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, said President Muhammadu Buhari had achieved a lot within the last three and a half years.
Oshiomhole said there was no need for APC to rig the elections in view of the tremendous projects it had executed and the massive support the party had across the country.
He urged the party’s supporters to give it all the necessary support to ensure its success in the forthcoming general elections.
He commended Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje for the various development projects he had executed in the state which he said were there for all to see.
Gov. Ganduje thanked the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for the various projects it was executing in the state and Nigeria.
He called on the people of the state to vote for the APC to ensure the success of all its candidates in the upcoming elections.
NAN reports that eight prominent PDP members in the state including former Deputy Governor of the state, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, who defected to the APC were received at the occasion.
Speaking earlier when Buhari visited him as part of the campaign tour, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II commended President Buhari for initiating programmes aimed at alleviating poverty in the country.
“Programmes like the N-power and TraderMoni where small traders across the country are given N5000 each, can go a long way in boosting the country’s economy,” he said.
The Emir also called on the president to initiate more of such programmes so as to ensure the well being of all citizens.
“If the Federal Government can increase the number of beneficiaries of the programmes to 20 million, it will contribute towards poverty reduction in the country.
“It will also bring to an end street begging,” Sanusi said.
He also commended the federal government for introducing the school feeding programme, saying that the gesture had encouraged more parents to enroll their children in school.
According to Sanusi, the Emirate Council will continue to remind government of issues relating to well being of Nigerians whenever the need arises.
Earlier, Buhari said his visit was not only to seek re-election, but to also commend the people for their tireless support to his administration.
“I am in Kano not to tell the people what we are doing to develop the country, but to remind them on the need to perform their civic responsibilities by voting right candidates.
“This is because I believe they are aware of what we are doing,” he said.
He commended the people for welcoming him all the way from the airport to the Emir’s palace.
Buhari assured them of his determination towards to move the country to the next level.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has dismissed claims that his association with Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano has diminished his commitment to the war against corruption.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Thursday, the president said that “there is a difference between perception and reality’’.
It said that the president’s reactions followed comments after his presentation of Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, at a rally in Kano, on Thursday.
The statement cited a number of high profile prosecution of senior government officials including that of a former Secretary to the Government and a former state governor, who is a party member and now serving term in jail, as indications of the president’s will and determination to wage the anti-corruption war without fear or favour.
It also added that the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, is currently on administrative leave as part of President Buhari’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
The statement explained that despite some of the suspects being close to the President, he had not shielded them from investigation, administrative suspensions and prosecution.
The Presidency added that “it is sheer mischief to suggest that President Buhari is shielding anybody because of their closeness to him’’.
According to the statement, no official under this administration will go unpunished once they break the law.
On the specific issue of Gov. Ganduje of Kano State, the statement noted that “Ganduje, as a sitting Governor, enjoys immunity from prosecution in his own right.
“Furthermore, under Nigerian laws, a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
“In the circumstances, the matter is in court and the President has no power to dictate to the court or the Kano State House of Assembly, which is already investigating the matter, about what to do with the allegations against Ganduje’’.
According to the statement, it is unfair to ignore the larger picture of the President’s major successes in the war against corruption, including blocking leakages of corruption, which in turn, boosted government revenues.
The statement challenged President Buhari’s critics to prove that those facing corruption allegations are innocent, adding that the “President’s zero tolerance for corruption has boosted and remarkably improved Nigeria’s image in the eyes of world leaders’’.