Cattle farmers in Nigeria operating under the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Socio-cultural Association on Tuesday canvassed for support for President Goodluck Jonathan in the run-up to the 2015 election.
The pastoralists made their position known when they paid a visit to the Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Rufai Alkali, in Abuja Tuesday.
Speaking on behalf of the group, its the national secretary, Saleh Hassan, said his members are also ready to support the government in bringing peace between the cattle breeders and farmers across the country.
“We are willing to partner with the government in the transformation agenda, especially in the area of agriculture,” Mr. Hassan said.
The group denied being behind most of the deadly clashes with farmers in several states, and expressed appreciation to the president for appointing Mr. Alkali as his political adviser saying the presidential aide is one of their own.
“This government is our own. You are one of us and we are not shy to openly identify with one who has excelled in service to this country,” the group said.
Mr. Alkali expressed appreciation to the group for its support for the Jonathan administration.
“The message of what they have said is that this is solidarity visit to President Goodluck Jonathan. They have said it very clearly both in Hausa, Fulfude and English that they have come here to identify openly and clearly with what the government of this country under our President is doing for all Nigerians,” he told journalists.
“They have also said that whatever they say comes from the heart and not from the head, whatever they say they mean it.
“For those of us who know the wide network that this association has across the country and indeed across West Africa and the way and manner their messages move very fast, when they take a decision to implement it is just a matter of minutes.
“They said that Mr. President is doing well and that he should be supported, assisted and encouraged in every way possible,” he continued.
“From what they have said they have pleaded that they should be understood properly, that the popular misconception that the Fulani are looking for trouble that they are not doing that.”
“My understanding is that there must have been a breakdown in communication between the two otherwise brothers, the farmer and the cattle rearers,” he said.
While thanking them for promising to vote for President Jonathan in 2015, Mr. Alkali also appealed to them to support all Peoples Democratic Party candidates next year at all levels as the president will need them to work in the National Assembly and at the state level.
He advised them to obtain their permanent voters card which is the ammunition they will use in supporting for the Jonathan administration in 2015.