Following scathing criticisms and mockery that followed the spin one of his aides and supporters tried to put on his decision to walk 800 meters from the prayer ground to his home in Daura, Katsina State, on Eid el Kabir day, President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday, explained why he did the trek.
And it had nothing to do with proving a point as to his fitness for the 2019 election.
According to a statement by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President in Daura broached the issue of his trek and the controversy it generated.
In a meeting with representatives of the five local governments in Daura Emirate, the President Buhari explained that the walk was not about proving his fitness level or scoring cheap political capital.
‘‘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 said.
The President used the opportunity of his meeting with his kinsmen to inform them that he has 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 percent.
The President 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.
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, invited him to make out time to attend.