By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah, Abuja, SALIhi ABUBAKAR and abdulgafar oladimeji, Kano
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he would win resoundingly should another election be held in the country.
The president premised his confidence on the mammoth crowd that welcomed him during his two-day visit to Kano State yesterday.
Buhari stated this shortly before visiting the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II.
“I am overwhelmed by the sea of people I see and by what I see today, if elections are contested I will no doubt win it”, Buhari said of the mammoth crowd that came to welcome him.
The president reaffirmed the commitment of his administration towards the fight against insurgency in the country.
According to him, while Kano is the commercial hub of the Northern Nigeria, commercial activities in the state have been paralysed by the Boko Haram insurgency.
“Before the insurgency, dozens of articulated vehicles,from different states in the north trooped into Kano to buy goods.
“The activities of the insurgents have really paralyse the socio-economic activities of the state”, the president added.
He noted, however, that with the steps taken by his administration towards decimating Boko Haram insurgency, the commercial glory of the state would soon be restored.
His words: “Our administration is committed to pursuing the three-point agenda: the fight against corruption, insurgency and restoring the economy. Security is one of my top priorities. We can’t measure the loss caused by Boko Haram to the Northeast region and by extension to Kano State.
“But we are now on top of the situation. As you can witness, peace is being restored in the Northeastern region and other areas in the North”.
Describing Kano State as his support base since he ventured into politics in 2002, Buhari said he is proud of the state for its unflinching support for him.
President Buhari also reaffirmed that prison reforms and decongestion will be pursued with greater vigour by his administration.
Speaking at a ceremony in Kurmawa Central Prison Kano where 500 inmates were either pardoned or set free upon the payment of fines by the state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, the president lamented that some of the freed inmates were young.
Buhari pledged that prisons 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 prisons terms.
He said, “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 since 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 only 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”.
The 500 inmates granted pardon, including men and women, were drawn from various prisons in Kano State, including Kurmawa prisons, which has 1,398 inmates as opposed to the established capacity 750.
Earlier, President Buhari who arrived Kano to a tumultuous welcome by the government and people of the state at the start of a two-day state visit paid homage to the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.
At the Emir’s place, President Buhari recounted his fond memories of Kano as a symbol of peace, trade, commerce and industry in Nigeria.
He said, “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 the Cameroons, and the number of vehicles that come in from Chad and Niger, providing millions of jobs to Nigerians.
“A lot of people in Nigeria didn’t realise how much the instability in the North East have cost the people and the industry here”.
In his remarks, the Emir of Kano commended Buhari for the visit and assured him of the Emirate’s continuous support for his administration.
Sanusi II restated the commitment of the emirate council to continue to give useful and meaningful advices to the presidency through a proper channel.