Home POLITICS Nigeria: Osinbajo Details New Focus on Democracy Day

Nigeria: Osinbajo Details New Focus on Democracy Day

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In a public in his address to mark this year’s democracy day and the second anniversary of the Buhari administration YemiOsinbajo, the Acting President of Nigeria, Monday May 29 said that government would work and give the necessary incentives to the private sector and create an environment to invest and do business.

He listed Nigeria’s new areas of focus in the next two years, as agriculture and food security, energy (power and petroleum), industrialization and transport infrastructure.

The vision for a country, is to grow “what it eats and produces what it consumes. It is for a country that no longer has to import petroleum products, and develops a lucrative petrochemical industry.Very importantly it is for a country whose fortunes are no longer tied to the price of a barrel of crude, but instead to the boundless talent and energy of its people, young and old, male and female as they invest in diverse areas of the economy,’’ he said.

YemiOsinbajo said Nigerian citizens deserve a country that works, “not merely for the rich or connected, but for everyone.And our promise to you is that we will, with your support and cooperation, take every step needed to create that country of our dreams.”

The acting president said they will not succumb to the temptation to take short-cuts that ultimately complicate the journey. “We did not find ourselves in crises overnight, and we simply do not expect overnight solutions to our challenges,’’ he added.

Asking for the continued cooperation and support of the people, to enable the government realise all its intentions and ambitions for Nigeria, he said “We are witnesses to the ever-increasing intensity of the light at the end of the tunnel. I firmly believe that we have put the most difficult phase behind us.’’

YemiOsinbajo said the Government commemorates the second anniversary of its administration with confidence and optimism.Using a phrase form President MuhammaduBuhari, currently in the UK on Medical leave he said: “The old Nigeria is slowly but surely disappearing, and a new era is rising.”  He also extended good wishes to all Nigerians from President MuhammaduBuhari and asked for continued prayers for the restoration to full health and strength of PresidentBuhari.

The acting VP reminded Nigerians that on assumption of office, their administration outlined Security, Corruption and the Economy as areas for immediate intervention.

Security

He added that to fight Boko Haram in the Northeast the new leadership renewed the “confidence of our gallant military and restored broken-down relations with our neighbours, Chad, Cameroon and Niger – allies without whom the war against terror would have been extremely difficult to win.”

Adding that in the last two years, close to one million displaced persons have returned home; 106 Chibok girls have regained their freedom, and thousands of other captives have also been freed.

The acting president said the administration’s New Vision for the Niger Delta is a comprehensive peace, security and development plan that will ensure that the people benefit fully from the wealth of the region.

Corruption

The acting president also said the wealth of the many would no longer be stolen by or reserved for a few. “The government would build a nation devoid of impunity and corruption whether in the public or private sectors.Corruption would no longer be standard operating practice,” he added.

The acting president said the Buhari administration will not relent in the fight against corruption, or its efforts to apprehend and bring corruption suspects to justice. “We are re-equipping prosecution teams, and part of the expected judicial reforms is to dedicate some specific courts to the trial of corruption cases,” he added.

On the institutionalization of safeguards and deterrents “we have expanded the coverage of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), introduced more efficient accounting and budgeting systems across the Federal Government and launched an extremely successful Whistleblower Policy.”

Economy

Admitting that the economy has proven to be the administration’s biggest challenge, the acting president expressed their initial concernabout the impact of the economic difficulties on Nigerian citizens.

He said Nigerians have had to make many sacrifices to accommodate the short and long term interventions of the Government aimed at “rebuilding an economy that is no longer helplessly dependent on the price of crude oil.”

“The Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance has succeeded in plugging leakages amounting to billions of naira, over the last two years. We have taken very seriously our promise to save and invest for the future, even against the backdrop of our revenue challenges, and we have in the last two years added US$500m to our Sovereign Wealth Fund and US$87m to the Excess Crude Account,” he added.

Citing the Social Investment Programme and its Home Grown School Feeding component which is now feeding more than 1 million primary school children across seven states, he added that another two million children will benefit by the end of the year.

He said N-Power, an initiative targeting 200,000 unemployed graduates; micro credit to a million artisans, traders and market men and women; conditional cash transfers to reach a million of the poorest and most vulnerable households have all began.

Other aspects of Acting President Osinbajo’s speech covered agriculture road and power projects across the country including the first phase of the Abuja Mass Transit Rail System;  the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative; Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020; the nationwide development of Technology Hubs; the Power Sector Recovery Programme launched in March 2017; the Solid Minerals Development Fund; the rollout of Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and the launch of the Family Home Fund (Social Housing Programme).

Veronica Ogbole

Nigeria

Photograph: Yemi Osinbajo, the Acting President of Nigeria Addresses the Nation