Economy wreckers jostling for 2019 –Buhari

• Gets second term endorsement in Kano

From Desmond Mgboh, Kano and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

In Kano State, yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari, declared that those who wrecked the economy are the same people jostling to contest in 2019.

The president spoke at an interactive session with a cross section of Kano society inside the Government House, as part of his two-day official visit to the state.

In attendance at the session were governors of Kano and Jigawa states, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Alhaji Abubakar Badaru, respectively, as well as the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II.

In an inference to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s time in government, president Buhari identified the fuel subsidy regime as one of the means by which the country’s resources was siphoned.

In Kano, the president admitted that of his three campaign promises, defeating corruption and corrupt people remain the most difficult challenges so far.

He acknowledged that the fight against corruption has not been full achieved.

Buhari, who asked for understanding, indicated his desire to  reform the society for the sake of the youths and the country as a whole, even as he explained that under democracy, fighting corruption is a complex exercise than in a military regime.

He recounted his personal experience in fighting corruption which, at the end, he was also, jailed by the forces of corruption.

“When I was Head of State, I locked up the people from and took them to Kirikiri and asked them to prove their innocence.

“Only two of them were without guilt-a former minister from Hadejia-Bilyaminu Usman and Mallam Adamu Ciroma.

“But also, the forces of these corrupt people also ensured that I was also locked up and detained for three years,” Buhari said.

The president noted that things are a lot better for Nigerian farmers and that his administration has recorded tremendous improvement in agriculture.

He also said his administration has defeated the Boko Haram in the North East and explained that nothing can be achieved in a state of insecurity.

Buhari recalled how, in the past, insurgents besieged places of worships and even markets and universities to kill and maim innocent people.

“It is either that these people do not know Allah or they have failed to interpret properly the teachings of Allah.”

He also addressed drug abuse in the state and pledging to  reconstruct the Kano–Abuja Expressway, dredge the River Niger, in addition to ramping up the fight against smuggling of food items into country.

In his remarks, Ganduje assured the president of the votes of Kano people in 2019.

It also emerged, yesterday, that stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state have adopted Buhari as their presidential candidate for 2019.

The APC stakeholders also expressed commitment and support to Ganduje, as their sole governorship candidate for 2019, in the state.

Buhari’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, yesterday, said president Buhari neither accepted nor declined the endorsement in his speech, even after the party leaders promised to procure nomination forms for him and threatened to sue if he declines the endorsement.

“President Buhari merely beamed with smiles and went on to underscore the need for unity in the party and among the diverse peoples of Nigeria,” Shehu said in the statement, yesterday.

The APC stakeholders’ meeting, which held on the sidelines of the president’s state visit to Kano, was attended by Ganduje, his deputy, Professor Hafizu Abubakar, the state chairman and the members of the State Executive Committee and members of the National Executive Committee of the party from the state.

Also in attendance were two of the state’s senators, members of the House of Representatives from the state; the Speaker and 34, out of the 40 members of the House of Assembly and the 44 local government party chairmen, their deputies and council area secretaries of the APC.

Others were Governor Muhammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa and other leaders of the party in the state.

APC Chairman in the state, Alhaji Inuwa Abbas, hinged their endorsement of the president on his achievements in the last two years, “especially in security, the war against corruption and restructuring of the economy.”

Ganduje humorously noted that the party is prepared to drag the president to court, to force his acceptance of the second term ticket.

In his response, Buhari said he understood the clamour by ordinary people on the streets, who raised four fingers on each arm, ‘meaning four-plus-four.’ He, however, stressed the need to sanitise party politics by ridding it of vote-buying and violence.

“What I saw in the elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers, the use of money and those headless bodies really upset me.

“I don’t wish to see that anywhere.

“I would not have won if money and killing was the modus of operation. That is my view of politics,” the president said.

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Author: Uche Atuma