President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday spoke on his decision to walk some distance after observing Eid prayers at Kofar Arewa Eid Ground in his Daura hometown and the humbling hero’s welcome from the well-wishers that lined the street.
In a meeting with representatives of the five local governments in Daura Emirate, the President explained that the walk was not about proving his fitness level or scoring any cheap political point.
Buhari, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said: ”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.”
The President used the opportunity of his meeting with his kinsmen to inform them that he had directed the Ministry of Agriculture and the CBN to review the processes on the issuance of loans to smallholder farmers.
”We want to make it easier for them to assess 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 said.
The President also highlighted the achievements of the administration on local rice productions which had expectedly led to the reduction of imports by over 90 per cent.
He expressed delight that young people are returning to the farms and reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to implement policies to promote agriculture.
Speaking on behalf of the civil society groups in Daura Emirate, the spokesman of the group, Yusuf Bello Maiadua, applauded the President on his numerous achievements.
”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,” he said.
Maiadua, who hinted the President of plans by the Daura Emirate to organise a massive rally for his 2019 campaign as soon as the ban on political campaign is lifted, asked him to make out time to attend.