Numerous placard-carrying supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Kano unofficially started electioneering for his re-election in 2019.
The supporters, numbering over 5,000, displayed placards with inscriptions including Buhari muna so a 2019, Muna tare de Buhari (2019), (Its Buhari we want in 2019 and We are with Buhari); “4+4=8;” and “Buhari/Ganduje for 2019.”
A mammoth crowd was also at the airport and along the major streets in the metropolis to give the President a rousing welcome.
Shortly after his aircraft touched down at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport at 11.15am, the President was received by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, members of the State Executive Council, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, traditional rulers as well as politicians, among others.
From the airport, the President was driven in a convoy to the Emir of Kano’s palace.
Buhari alongside Ganduje later went to the Kurmawa Prison, a stone’s throw from the Emir’s palace, where 500 prison inmates were granted pardon and given an undisclosed amount of money after they were advised to be of good behaviour.
Thereafter, the President inaugurated some projects.
Among the projects are the ultra-modern Specialist Hospital, Giginyu, named after the him and a Peadiatric Hospital located on Zoo Road, Kano,and the underpass bridge at Madobi/Panshekara Junction.
The President is expected to inspect a rice mill, Fullmark Rice Mill Company at Kwanar Gunduwawa, and Gezawa Oil Mill on Thursday (today).
Buhari is also expected to meet with Ulamas and hold an interactive session with community leaders and politicians before returning to Abuja.
Buhari, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, after the President visited the Emir of Kano, said nobody could disabuse the minds of Nigerians on his clear intentions for the country and its citizens concerning his electoral promises ahead of the 2015 presidential election that he won.
“The three things we said in our campaign on security, economy and fighting corruption, nobody will be able to successfully disabuse the minds of Nigerians on our clear intentions for our country and our people,” the President was quoted as saying.
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Buhari assured Nigerians that the fight against the degraded Boko Haram would be sustained, in addition to the positive trends in the economy and the fight against corruption.
He recounted his fond memories of Kano as a symbol of peace, trade, commerce and industry in Nigeria.
“If there is a problem here, the whole country has a problem. I remember the industry and employment people get in Kano.
“Before the problem in the North-East, I remember the number of articulated vehicles that leave this city to Maiduguri and Cameroon, and the number of vehicles that come in from Chad and Niger, providing millions of jobs to Nigerians.
“A lot of people in Nigeria did not realise how much the instability in the North-East have cost the people and the industry here,” the President said.
Buhari also reaffirmed that his administration would pursue prison reforms and decongestion with greater vigour.
He spoke at a ceremony in Kurmawa Central Prison Kano, during which 500 inmates were either pardoned or set free upon the payment of fines by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
The President lamented that some of the freed inmates were young and charged prison authorities to make every effort to make better citizens out of them.
He promised that prison reforms and decongestion would continue to receive prompt attention from his administration.
The President stressed the need for prisoners to receive proper care, support and rehabilitation to make them better citizens after serving their prison terms.
“I am pleased with this visit and I have learnt a bit more about the conditions of the prisons and inmates.
“This building in front of us was built in 1910. Rehabilitation of prisoners and training of inmates is very important to us and we would continue to invest more on this.
“I asked one of the inmates (released) how old he was and he told me he is 19 years old.
“If we have people of 18 and 19 years in the prison, and there is no continuous training, then their lives will be completely destroyed. We will invest more in education and vocational training,” he said.