President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said he decided to announce his desire to seek re-election early enough in April in order to ease tension.
Buhari said this while receiving members of the Buhari Support Group Centre at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He thanked members of the group for consistently standing by him over the years without getting any reward.
Buhari said, “I had to announce before the National Executive Committee my intention to ask for the party’s nomination for next year’s elections so that we can save a lot of time and calm nerves.
“A lot of people were trying to make it a habit of being a nuisance to themselves and to many Nigerians.
“So, when I announced my intention, I said okay, let those who are serious come out and I tried to make sure that the party is reorganised and consolidated.
“This is so that we can start from bottom to top, so that Nigerians will be involved and that each constituency will pick those it wants to represent it at the various levels, whether in the local governments, state Houses of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate and finally, the Presidency itself.
“With this participation, some of the people who are educated and sophisticated have said to those who have got the money, bring the money, but we will still do what we want to do.”
Buhari said having contested the presidential election four times before eventually winning at the last attempt, he was familiar with happenings in different constituencies.
He reiterated that his failure in the previous three attempts was a result of people sitting down somewhere and writing election results and asking those aggrieved to go to court.
Lauding the introduction of the technology, which he said assisted in his victory at the last election, he called on the BSGC to encourage Nigerians to collect their Permanent Voter Cards.
The President added, “Thank God that technology has come in. With PVCs, with the card reader, wherever you register, it will show whether you voted or not. That is why voter education is very important.
“Tell people to take pride in their PVCs, let them keep it and use it. This is an additional assignment for your group.
“I have been talking to the governors, urging them to carry out voter education. It may not favour them, but people will eventually understand it whether they tell the truth or not, people will do what they feel is right.”
The Chairman of the BSGC, Umaru Dembo, said members of the group saw Buhari as a leader who had sacrificed his life for the well-being of the common man in Nigeria.
“All of us and various groups attached to us will convey in various forms the successes of your government in the last three years to others,” he said.
He assured Buhari of their commitment to his re-election in 2019.
Meanwhile, the President on Friday said it was a thing of joy for the country to lend a helping hand to any African country in distress.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari spoke while receiving the outgoing High Commissioner of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Haja Kabba, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President said brotherly assistance extended to the West African country during the Ebola epidemic and the recent mudslide natural disaster was the least Nigeria could do.
The President wished Kabba, who had spent two years in Nigeria, the best of luck in her next assignment.