President Muhammadu Buhari who gave the explanation while receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby in London said, that majority of Nigerians appreciate the strides his administration has so far recorded.
He said the declaration would reduce distractions and help the government focus on key sectors like security, agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, and so on.
The President further explained that the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region to different parts of West Africa has worsened the herdsmen/farmers clashes.
President Buhari also said that his government was trying to be careful in order not to fall into the hands of fraudsters while trying to secure the release of the abducted Christian Dapchi school girl, Leah Sharibu who was not released by the Boko Haram because she refused to renounce her faith and joined Islam as was demanded by her abductors.
Recall that the President on Monday during the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC), declared his intention to seek re-election.
Nigerians are talking too much
Buhari in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina 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.”
Whiling reeling out his achievements since he took over the mantle of leadership to his guest, whom he had built a deep friendship in recent times, especially in agriculture, he said that Nigerians with what he had done should be able to feed themselves.
According to him, “We have cut the importation of rice by about 90 percent, 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.”
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 said, “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 is done to all concerned.
Commenting on Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl from Dapchi still being held by insurgents, reportedly because she refused to renounce her Christian faith, the President said that efforts were being made to secure her release, adding that government had decided to keep the efforts to itself.
He 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.”
Speaking earlier, Archbishop Welby said it was always a delight to see President Buhari, “whom I have tremendous respect for.”
“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 added.
The Archbishop presented President Buhari with a copy of his recent book, ‘Reimagining Britain. Foundations for Hope.’