President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday explained why he trekked 800 metres in Daura, Katsina State, on Sallah day.
At a meeting with representatives of the five local government areas in Daura Emirate, the president said the walk was not about proving his fitness level or scoring cheap political gains.
There had been reports that the president trekked to show that he was fit to seek re-election next year.
But in a statement by his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu yesterday, Buhari 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.”
Buhari told his kinsmen that he had directed the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria to review the processes on issuance of loans to smallholder farmers.
‘‘We want to make it easier for them to assess the loans, particularly the underprivileged people in 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.
Speaking on behalf of civil society groups in Daura Emirate, the spokesman of the group, Yusuf Bello Maiadua, applauded the president on his 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 on plans by the 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.