On Osinbajo, Tinubu And The Purveyors Of Falsehood, By Ayodele Sylvester

When some politicians who are renown for looting Nigeria and causing her to bleed flew to Dubai in October, we all thought they went there to strategise on how the infrastructural projects and social programmes of the Nigerian government can be improved.

We were expecting them to come back to Nigeria to show us plans – even if insincere – of how the current infrastructural projects in the country can be expanded, but they came back with nothing less than one of the things they are known for: mudslinging.

One person they have tried so much to taint is Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. They have tried everything from accusing him of embezzling public funds; to attempting to break the cordial relationship between him and APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

A reliable source close to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hierarchy mentioned the plan to destabilise the South-West region by planting mistrust between VP Osinbajo and Asiwaju Tinubu.

We do not take Nigeria for granted and so we want to state the facts about their accusations.

The first thing is that the House of Representatives never accused the vice president of corruption or embezzlement of funds. The only accusation is that the funds he approved for the emergency situation in the North-East were not budgeted.

The truth, however, is that the funds in question, meant to pay for food supply to internally displaced persons, was an emergency and was approved in two tranches.

The first was N5 billion which was drawn via the National Food Security Programme, for which request was raised by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as the facilitator of the programme, in a letter dated May 25, 2017.

This was at a time when the displaced persons and their host communities faced severe food shortages throughout the North-East, as a result of successive poor harvests and abandoned farmlands.

It was at a time the World Food Programme (WFP) had issued a warning that it would be reducing its vital support to about 1.8 million IDPs by more than 80%.

There was an immediate need to distribute grains to IDPs, and the only way to obtain the 30,000 Metric Tonnes required was to resort to the National Food Security Progamme (NFSP) earlier established by the Federal Government as a means of shoring up its strategic grain reserves.

The second tranche was N800 million approved for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for bagging, transportation, tracking, security, and contingency costs to handle the grains for the IDPs.

On account of the emergency nature of the procurement, these presidential approvals were well within the clear constitutional authority of the then Acting President Osinbajo.

Now to the plot to create mistrust between Osinbajo and Tinubu and their supporters: the Vice President is not unmindful of his roots and will never bite the finger that fed him, or as the Yorubas say ‘A kii ge ika ti o ma a n funni onje’.

It was Asiwaju Tinubu who put Osinbajo’s name forward as the Vice President when then presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari asked him to nominate people for his running mate slot. Tinubu was asked to nominate three people, but he chose just one person – Yemi Osinbajo. For someone who has raised leaders in Lagos and other state in this country, and who could easily count 50 people worthy of the VP slot to pick just one shows the level of trust reposed on Osinbajo. That trust is not one the VP has ever broken or will ever break.

During his time as a commissioner in Lagos, Osinbajo was exceptionally known for integrity and loyalty, in and out of the office. Osinbajo’s loyalty is so legendary that he had to seek the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s permission and blessing before accepting the Vice Presidential candidate slot of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Nigerians can count on that loyalty from someone who took an oath of office to defend their rights. He has been loyal in his discharge of his duties in Abuja.
Those behind the plot to stain Osinbajo’s stellar life and record are PDP stalwarts in the South-West with friends in the APC who can’t stand Tinubu.

Yes, we have intelligence report that some high-ranking people in the APC are collaborating with ‘looting-minded ‘people in the opposition to cause a rift between Osinbajo and Tinubu.

Their next plan is to cause another rift between Osinbajo and President Buhari. They believe that once the cordial relationship between Osinbajo and Tinubu is destroyed, the Tinubu house will collapse.

The PDP sympathizers in the South-West mentioned in the plan are one of the ministers and governors, who fancy their chances in the 2023 elections should Tinubu part ways with Osinbajo and refuse to support him.
The plan is to demonise Osinbajo and project him as overly ambitious.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The congregation at the Olive Tree Parish of the RCCG can attest to his humility. So also can all the families he has interacted with, not only in his door-to-door campaigns in the run-up to the 2015 general elections and this year’s election, but also the many families he interacts with in his private time.

The PDP is behind the plot to split Osinbajo and Tinubu because of the desire to take the South-West in 2019 or 2023. These two people are the only problems they have in the region.

Their eyes are most likely on the more than N300 billion expected to be generated by Lagos State through the hard and smart work of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu camp. They have never had the interest of the people at heart.

Nigerians need to be aware that Osinbajo is a down to earth, humble public servant whose motivation is to serve Nigerians and lift the country to greatness.

•Sylvester writes from Lagos.

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There He Goes Again, By James Akinloye

*An editor of an otherwise respectable medium develops incurable obsession against a distinguished leader.

*The tale of a certain Abraham Ogbodo

Mr. Abraham Ogbodo seems to have an obsession with Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. He is constantly searching for what next the Vice President would do – but if he was searching with good intent it would have been better, unfortunately for this suspicious journalist, he is always on the lookout for whatever the Vice President would do with the intent to malign his character. 

He claims to love him in his recent piece, ANOTHER SERMON ON PROFESSOR YEMI OSINBAJO, but I think he is mistaken love with perjorative obsession, and an embarrassing partisan slant that is easy to detect. Give it to him, Ogbodo knows what he is doing and the readers too understand his despicable mission. 

Right from 2014 that President Muhammadu Buhari emerged as APC presidential candidate, this man decided to submit himself to the task of attacking the candidate. But when Prof Osinbajo became running mate, the matter became for him a lasting mission to embarrass seeing the undoubtable value Osinbajo brought to the table.

His latest article is another example of expression of this unwholesome mission. He makes an attempt to deceive his readers by painting a scenario as if the Vice President goes to markets to handover N10,000 to TraderMoni beneficiaries. Deliberate misinformation. 

A click on Google to search for how the TraderMoni is disbursed by the Bank of Industry would have brought sense and clarity to Abraham’s position. Unfortunately his intent is to malign the Vice President and deceive his readers hence his conscious failure to make the necessary enquiries. 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s visits to the markets have simply been to monitor the disbursements of these monies to the traders. He has never gone to the market to share money. The intent of the VP is simply to be with the people. Mr. Abraham may forget that leaders in government are elected for the people and there is nothing wrong whatsoever in the Vice President going to ensure a programme of the government is being carried out righteously. If Mr. Abraham Obodo is afraid that this will win the Vice President support, then he must be ready to live with this fear forever.

He fundamentally fails to understand that government is for the people and these traders are citizens as much as Governors, as much as Traditional Rulers, as much as Head of Parastatals and Agencies, and as much as business leaders who meet with the Vice President every now and then on official purposes. They are citizens as well and the Vice President has only shown himself to be a leader of the people by going down to meet with them and interact with them on their levels. It is unfortunate that his involvement in observing the disbursement of the Trader Moni loan scheme surprises people like Abraham. He  perhaps looks down on the poor, and believes that nothing should be done to salvage and elevate them. A thinking derived from an aloof elitist mindset that government should be for the few, the wealthy while abandoning the majority who are poor. 

Those baselessly making the accusation of electoral fraud are simply unaware and oblivious of the duties of government to the people at the least. Indeed if the government is working and fulfilling its promises to the people and that is termed vote buying then I think we need to encourage vote buying as an official practice.

Another item of controversy that Mr Abrahma raises in his opinion article is the Vice President’s comment vis-a-vis the conversation on the 2023 Presidency. 

This was an innocuous remark that has been taken out of context. The Vice President was only encouraging the South-Western region of the country to participate in deciding the equation of who produces the President in 2023. 

Misinterpreting him is only to subject a simple democratic and political issue to the pettiness of ethnicity. We must not pretend not to know how Nigeria’s politics operates.

It is expected as a matter of unspoken consensus that in 2023 power will shift to the south, and that means the contest to produce the President will be between the South-West, the South-South and the South-East regions. Each of the regions would have a place in the contest. 

The Vice President in a discussion with leaders in the South-West has only put forward the reality that the South-West must present itself as a relevant contender and one of them is delivering on votes to Professor Osinbajo’s party. This is a fundamental in democracy. 

Do we expect the Vice President to act as if he is not a member of the APC, or as if he does not want his region to contribute massively to the votes that would retain his party in power in 2023? 

In the same vain, Dr. Chris Ngige encouraging the South-East to throw in their votes as part of their own contribution to show that they are equally ready participants to contest for the position of President in 2023. 

Vice President Osinbajo would leave a grand legacy after his tenure in office. His landmark feats would stretch from his legal practice to his days as Attorney General of Lagos State to his role as Vice President – his legacies will certainly outlive him. The reforms he has made as Attorney General, the reforms he is  making as Vice President, his leadership style as chair of the National Economic Council, his astuteness, his brilliance and his management of the Social Investment Programmes that has invested and impacted the lives of over 15 million Nigerians will speak for him. Professor Osinbajo and his boss and partner, President Buhari have brought something different to the table of government: and that is government must not neglect the poor. An ideology they have held to heart in deploying resources of State for the Nigerian people. If Abraham Ogbodo’s obsession with the Vice President clogs his eyes to seeing this, millions of Nigerians can see it.

Sunday James Akinloye is a Democratic Rights Activist, Political Commentator and the President of the Initiative to Save Democracy Group (ISD)

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Reps Report Had No Corruption Allegation Against Osinbajo – Ojudu

Nowhere in the House of Representative Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness report was there an allegation of corruption against the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and this is why claims against him from some quarters regarding the report are mere political contrivances intended to distract him.

This view was expressed by Senator Babafemi Ojudu, the Presidential Political Adviser, while responding to press inquiries about information circulating in the social media on plots to target the Vice President hatched at the meeting of a major political party abroad, regarding 2019 election.

“It is evident that the opposition are in search of company for their acts of grand corruption which brought Nigeria to its knees as of May 2015. They cannot find that company in the Vice President,” the adviser noted.

He continued: “first, there is nowhere in the politicized House of Reps report where the VP was accused of corruption or embezzlement of funds. I challenge them to quote any word or sentence that makes such an accusation.

“Even the House Committee Chairman has said there was no allegation of corruption against him. The only allegation is that he approved funds for the emergency operations in the North East from the consolidated Revenue Fund not budgeted funds. This conclusion we have proved to be false. The funds approved were from budgeted funds, specifically the Rice Levy,”

Sen. Ojudu said the recent NEMA probe report which social media account disclosed may have been authored at that meeting in a foreign country, was one of such efforts plotted to attack the Buhari administration by tarnishing the image of the Vice President.

“We have read reports in the media that the meeting in a foreign country of the major opposition party was centered on trying to attack the Buhari administration by targeting the Vice President using different tactics.

“It is now evident through the NEMA report, that the opposition is indeed making frantic efforts to tarnish the image of the Vice President,” he said.

He explained that even after Hon. Ali Isa, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness had publicly admitted that the Vice President was not mentioned in the report, the opposition still found it expedient to continue, baselessly, to attack the reputation of Prof. Osinbajo by claiming without proof or any shard of evidence that fraud was committed in the N5.8b Emergency Food Intervention Fund for North-East.

He asserted that the presidential approvals were well within lawful authority of the then Acting President.

“Let us remember that the approval granted by Prof. Osinbajo was in response to the threat of hunger and starvation based on information received from the United Nation World Food Programme in April, 2017. The organization had issued a warning that it would be reducing its vital support to about 1.8 million IDPs by as much as 85%, due to the corresponding reduction in funding by the donor countries. Around the same time, the United Nations Commission for Refugees in Geneva also warned of the growing risk of mass deaths from starvation among people living in the conflict areas.

“Besides, it is also important to note that the procurement process was not ignored in the release of funds, as alleged. Section 43 of the Public Procurement Act makes provision for emergency procurement, in which case the procuring entity is allowed to engage in direct contracting for goods and file a report thereafter with the Bureau of Public Procurement.

“Also, the BPP issued a ‘certificate of no objection’ to NEMA on the emergency procurement, and this addresses all issues relating to the alleged breach of due process,” Sen. Ojudu said.

The presidential adviser then added that the action of the opposition in the ensuing political drama indicates that the NEMA probe report is being politicized and is only a lame attempt at ruining the good works of the Buhari administration.

According to the Political Adviser, “the immediate past presidency have been unable to explain how in the years that Nigeria earned the highest revenue under its watch -$381B, when compared to any other administration since 1999, there is little or nothing to show for it.”

He said the Vice President will however not be distracted by the naysayers’ actions to discourage the Buhari administration from providing for the common man or to abandon the Social Investment Programme which it has budgeted half a trillion for in the past two years.

Sen. Ojudu added that the administration will continue to cater for Nigerians especially those at the bottom of the ladder, regardless of the antics of the opposition party.

“We know what is happening, but the administration will not be distracted. Our goals and objectives to put Nigeria on the solid path of greatness is now unstoppable and Prof. Osinbajo will not relent in that effort,” the presidential adviser concluded.

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#NextLevelNigeria: The APC Road Map

Four years ago, we promised Nigerians real change – in what we do and how we do it. Nigerians sent a clear message in the last election, and our platform offered a new, ambitious plan for a secure, prosperous and corruption-free country. We have worked hard to fulfill our promises – and while the road may have been difficult, over the last three and a half years, we have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people.

Foundational work is not often visible, neither is it glamorous – but it is vital to achieving the kind of country we desire. Judging by the prior depth of decay, deterioration and disrepair that Nigeria had sunken into, we are certain that these past few years have put us in good stead to trudge on the NEXT LEVEL of building an even stronger nation for our people.

First things had to come first.

We were a nation at war – but we delivered on our commitment to secure the territorial integrity of our nation in the face of a raging insurgency that devastated many parts of the North East. We liberated 17 Local Government Areas from the grip of insurgency. Brokering and sustaining peace in the Niger Delta has also been crucial to stabilising the polity.

Despite the difficult circumstances presented by weak oil prices and reduced oil production, we delivered on our commitment to make public investments to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity. Agriculture continues to expand our economic base, as do our investments in deficient infrastructure across the length and breadth of this nation.

We implemented a responsible and transparent fiscal plan for the challenging economic times that saw us doing more even with lesser oil revenues. Grand scale corruption perpetrated at the highest level of government is now a thing of the past, just as the Treasury Single Account has made it more difficult for ministries, departments and agencies to exercise the unrestrained liberties that helped foster a climate conducive to corruption. The nation’s wealth is now being invested in capital projects to expand infrastructure and connect people, goods and opportunities by rail, road and air.

Also, the Federal Government supported state governments with bailouts that enabled them to pay workers on their payroll.

We took an unprecedented step towards creating a fairer and more equitable society by implementing Africa’s biggest social investment programme. Through the National Social Investment Programme, we are providing direct support to over 13 million Nigerians who need it by giving relief and assistance to unemployed youth, our children, the weak and vulnerable as well as small and medium businesses. But even as we lay the foundation for a stable and prosperous nation, we acknowledge there is still much to do. The next level of effort focuses on job creation across various sectors.

From an enlargement of the N-Power programme to investing in technology and creative sector jobs to Agriculture and revolutionizing access to credit for entrepreneurs and artisans, there is scope for over 15 million new jobs. The march away from a mono-economy must continue with our industrialization plan coming to fore. With specific plans underway to exploit the comparative advantage of the geo political zones and different states by developing 6 Industrial Parks and 109 Special Production and Processing Centres (SPPCs) across each senatorial district, our incremental move away from oil dependence is assured.

In addition, our development of the Special Economic Zones will quickly concretise our Made in Nigeria for Export (MINE) plan. To sustain food production and value addition, our mechanization policy for agriculture will make tractors and processors easily accessible and available for farmers across Nigeria. We will continue a wide scale training policy, prioritising technology to reach the demography of young people within the productive sector on a massive scale even as we create jobs and growth within our economy.

We believe that our people who are still in poverty have a direct way out and up through our expanded National Social Investment Programme. We believe we can implement the painstaking and comprehensive ;policy and work we have done to bring an end to the perennial conflict between farmers and herders- a conflict which is heightened by a struggle for land, water and pasture and the effects of climate change and every now and then, opportunistic and cynical manipulation by political actors. We are implementing a blend of measures that ensures that justice, order, modernization and new economic paradigms emerge.

Perhaps our biggest ambition yet is the overhaul of our education sector. Every child counts – and simply, whatever it takes to prepare our teachers, curriculum and classrooms to attain the right educational goals that grow our country, will be done. We will remodel 10,000 schools every year and retrain our teachers to impart science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics using coding, animation, robotics to re-interpret our curriculum.

We know that, to succeed, moral integrity and conscience must continue to form the dominant character of our nation and its leadership. Corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria. Despite the gains we have made in closing the gates, we know that there is still much ground to cover to stop systemic corruption. We are committed to deepening the work we started this first term such that the nation’s assets and resources continue to be organized and utilized to do good for the common man.

The next four years will be quite significant for our country. Nigeria is faced with a choice to keep building a new Nigeria- making a break from its tainted past which favoured an opportunistic few. Our choices will shape us – our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people-focused government to move the agenda for our country forward.

Join us on this journey to the NEXT LEVEL of a prosperous, strong and stable Nigeria! Nigerians, WE ARE ALL GOING HIGHER!

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Why Vice President Osinbajo’s Approval Of North East Emergency Fund Is Legal, Constitutional, By Akinloye James

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is an integrity and dignity personified vice president that has constantly been talking about the grand and massive corruption that occurred in the previous administration before the emergence of the Buhari Government.

His clamour for exposing these corrupt entities in the previous administration is topnotch hence, the malicious attempt to tarnish his image and the series of attacks against his person and office; a plot I learnt was concocted by the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party and his cohorts.

Contrary to the false accusations made by Femi fani-kayode on his Facebook page alleging that the Vice President was indicted by the House of Representatives for the misappropriation of 5.8bn NEMA fund, The House of Representatives said it did not indict the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in its probe report on the National Emergency Management Agency as reported in some quarters of media.

Chairman House Committee on NEMA and Disaster Preparedness Representatives, Isah J.C made the clarification while raising a matter of privilege on Tuesday at plenary.

Recall that Femi fani-kayode as described by Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu is a nagging community irritant that has an extensive career in public nuisance.

That proposition emerged from a consensus acceptance that Femi fani-kayode displays the capricious behavioural pattern of a voracious substance abuser because his convulsive agitations rise and fall on the crests of depression and exhilaration.

Although,the HOR earlier stated in their report alleging that a sum of N5,865,671,939.26 was approved and released in June 2017 via a Memo raised from the Office of the Acting President, directing the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation to so act.

The House Committee also concluded that the payment made was in contravention of approval of the National Assembly.

This conclusion is both false and misleading.

It is important to understand the context of the transaction. This was at a time when internally displaced persons and their host communities faced very severe food shortages throughout the North East, as a result of successive poor harvests and abandoned farmlands, minimal cross-border cash crop trade and lost economic opportunities.

There was an immediate need to distribute grains, including rice, maize, soya beans and sorghum, to Internally Displaced Persons through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The only way to obtain the quantity of grains required was to resort to the National Food Security Progamme (NFSP) earlier established by the Federal Government as a means of shoring up its strategic grain reserves.

It was in consequence of the Federal Government decision to urgently purchase the stored grains for distribution to Internally Displaced Persons that the CBN made the proposal for approval of 30,905.08 Metric Tonnes at N5,229,685,333.26. Of that amount, the then Acting President eventually approved N5,036,644,933.26, after excluding bagging costs.

This was pursuant to the recommendation that bagging, transportation and other logistics were best handled by NEMA.

NEMA also originated a request to the Acting President, dated May 25, 2017, requesting the sum of N829,026,456.00 for general logistics, branding & packaging, tracking, security, personnel, media & publicity and contingency costs of taking the grains from their respective locations in Kano, Kaduna, Funtua, Ibadan and Gombe to Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba and Jigawa States.

These presidential approvals were well within the clear constitutional authority of the Acting President, who needed to take emergency steps to forestall acute food shortages in the affected States and there was nothing illegal or unconstitutional about them.

The approvals were duly communicated by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor of Central Bank, Director General of NEMA and the Minister of Finance for implementation.

On account of the emergency nature of the procurement, the House Committee’s assumption that the ordinary rules of procurement would apply was wrong.

Section 43 of the Public Procurement Act makes provision for emergency procurement, in which case the procuring entity is allowed to engage in direct contracting for goods and file a report thereafter with the Bureau of Public Procurement.

It is crystal clear that there is no violation in approval of N5.8B emergency food Intervention Fund for North-East and one could easily deduce that Femi Fani-kayode’s allegations is devoid of authenticity bearing in mind that he’s bounded by obsessive rabidity.

Akinloye James is from the Initiative to Save Democracy Group

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Prof. Osinbajo’s Soaring Popularity Among Nigerian Youths, By Abdullahi Yunusa

There is absolutely something unique about Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s personality which endears him to many, especially the Nigerian youths. Given the way he freely interacts, relates and reaches out to Nigerians during most of his official outings, many see and regard him as a true friend of the common man.

President Muhammadu Buhari wasn’t wrong, after all when he entrusted his administration’s Social Investment Programmes in his care. His choice of Professor Osinbajo as the Chief implementor of the scheme tells of the importance government attaches to it.

Such an important and very critical assignment of ensuring that every Nigerian, especially the common people directly feels the impact of governance requires the stamp of a man of impeccable character and integrity for it to succeed.

Professor Yemi Osinbajo has not only acquitted himself in the transparent manner he discharges his responsibility as the coordinator of SIP, but has displayed capacity, competence and transparency in the handling of the various components of the entire programme. The general consensus out there is that the SIP initiative which is principally targeted at empowering ordinary Nigerians is the most impactful, transparent and accountable social intervention programme ever introduced in our chequered political history as a country. Nigerians have since taken ownership of the various aspects of the SIP scheme which has for the very first time brought government closer to the people.

Vice President Osinbajo, like his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, is so passionate about the welfare of Nigerians, which he says occupies a significant position in the overall programme of the President Buhari administration. The Vice President has continued to reiterate government’s resolve to touch the lives of all Nigerians through faithful implementation of all government programmes and policies.

The truth is, Nigerians, especially the youth population are happy with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s style of handling official matters. There is hardly a day that the Vice President isn’t out there interacting with ordinary Nigerians on how best to meet their yearnings and aspirations. Apart from sitting to hold regular talk sessions with the youths, market women, artisans and petty traders across markets, Professor Osinbajo always welcomes suggestions, ideas, criticisms and opinions on how to achieve the Nigeria of our dream. One outstanding attribute of the Vice President is that he’s a listening leader. He believes strongly in the fact that every Nigerian should have something to offer in our desire to develop our dear nation.

By now, Professor Osinbajo’s security men have become so used to the huge crowd that often struggle to either see or have a handshake with him during his numerous official engagements. He’s made himself very accessible and easy to locate. I’ve lost count of the number of youth-based programmes that Professor Osinbajo has graced and held frank discussions with young Nigerians. He’s made it a point of duty to always honour such invitations himself, an indication of the fact he attaches much importance to issues that pertain to our youths.

Only recently at the 30th Biennial Conference of the Student Christian Movement of Nigeria held at the Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd, Enugu, he urged youths to see themselves as key players in Nigeria’s march to greatness, adding that contrary to the belief that the young people were the leaders of tomorrow, the time for the youths to showcase themselves was now.

Even when he hosted a delegation of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Movement, sometime ago he charged them to remain steadfast and committed to the task of realizing our full potential as a country.

“My dear young people, we need your energy, passion, charisma and creative abilities in our march to greatness. The time has come for all of you be deeply involved in politics and governance”.

Nigerians are always pleased to see the country’s number two citizen daily visiting towns, villages and cities to explain government’s programmes and policies to the masses across markets, bus stations, campuses and social gatherings. This is a complete departure from the way and manner officials of past governments treated us. We now welcome top government functionaries to our homes, not the other way round.

This is one task the VP is so passionate about. He clearly understands the fact that, it is the responsibility of elected and appointed government officials to keep the people abreast of developments, especially on issues of welfare and security.

It is our expectation that the Vice President, under whose office and supervision the SIP scheme is domiciled would continue to do his very best to ensure that the various components of the scheme like the N-POWER, Conditional Cash Transfer, MSMES Clinics, Trader Moni, Farmer Moni, Market Moni etc are meaningfully implemented in line with the change agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

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Osinbajo On Brekete Radio: The Life Of A Listening Vice President, And A Hard Worker, By Ifeayolu Nnaedozie

Government is a social contract, hence in the execution of this contract between the government and the people, there must be clear and unambiguous communication. October 29th 2018 was a spectacular day on the Brekete Family Radio show when the government was brought to the people. The Nigerian Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbanjo was a special guest on this live radio show, which is the mouthpiece of the common Nigerian. It serves as a voice of the people in search of tenable solutions for inclusive national development and to offer redress for public injustice, wherever it occurs. These are achievable by addressing ubiquitous presence of penury, unemployment, youth restiveness, gender inequality, mass illiteracy, infrastructural decadence, insecurity, misappropriation of public funds and gross misconduct in public offices among other subjects.
The show which is anchored by Mr Isa Mohammed connected the people with the office of the Presidency as the Vice President enlightened the audience and Bereke Family about the government’s involvement and effort in addressing trivial social and economic matters which affects mostly the average Nigerian citizens. It was an interactive experience which stipulates the answerable quality of a democratic government to the voters and member of the public. With the advent of platforms organized with the same or similar rationale, public office holders can account for their activities and years in power to the people who they represent envisaging a proper democratic tradition which could lead to efficiency while in public office.
For decades, the unemployment amongst young Nigerian graduates has become an unsolved concurrent problem in every government, leaving a huge amount of redundancy in actualizing a modernized and youthful empowered nation. In the VP’s remarks, he stated that the government has employed over 500,000 unemployed Nigerian graduates through the National Social Investment Program, and measures are underway to tackle other imperative issues affecting the growth of Nigerian economy. The scheme while benefiting the poor across the board, especially the poorest of the poor in the society, who have long been a larger proportion of the targeted population in lifting Nigeria out of poverty; has also engaged a lot of petty Traders.
Everyone can attest to Osinbajo’s commitment and magnanimity in driving initiatives to accelerate human capital development in the country. He is loved and appreciated for his pro-activeness in handling urgent matters, as opposed to the “sitting in the Villa” attitude we have seen in past Vice Presidents. Throughout the history of this country, there’s never been a Vice President who is as selfless, dedicated, supportive to Mr President and accessible like Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
His penchant for good governance and accessibility by the public is admirable. He will continue to be cherished for having the interest of the general public at heart and being a strong advocate against corruption.
Callers had the phone lines jammed up as Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora, all wanted to have a say to voice their concerns, observations and appreciation on various issues. This studio appearance virtually opened the Presidency to the people, bypassing all bottlenecks that impede communication.
Ifeayolu Nnaedozie is a social commentator.
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`Every Child Counts’ Name Of New Education Policy – Osinbajo

`Every Child Counts’ is the name of new Federal Government’s education policy, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said.

Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said Osinbajo made the disclosure in Lagos.

Osinbajo spoke at the 60th Anniversary of Grange School, Lagos, on Tuesday.

According to the vice president, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country; and like the rest of the continent, it is a nation of young people as half of its population is below the age of 20.

He said that Nigeria would be the third most populous country in the world by 2050 and would have a large youth population that could be a tremendous blessing for economic growth and prosperity.

Osinbajo, however, said that the population could also be a problem especially if Nigeria did not plan well and in advance as extreme poverty further complicated the problem for a country like Nigeria.

He said there was need to increase school enrolment, adding that school enrolment had increased in many cases by over 30 per cent in the last 2 ½ years, largely on account of our school feeding programme.

Osinbajo said that to eradicate poverty, Nigeria’s education must equip the young to be productive as the Federal Government was working on far-reaching skills-based curriculum on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

“This is the curriculum for primary and secondary schools.

“The core skills the programme will provide include: (1) Coding and Computer Programming; (2) Design Thinking and Computer Generated Imaging, Animation and Graphics Design; (3) Robotics, Networking and basic engineering applications.

“We have a programme called the N-Power programme and about 3,000 of them are currently being trained in animation skills and techniques and we found that people take so easily to learn some of these things.

“In fact, the younger people are, the easier it is for them to learn all of these technology skills.

“So, we think that to develop the kinds of young people who will be able to take on the kind of challenges of the 21st century and get the kind of work that the 21st century is producing already, we simply have to change the way we teach and what we teach.’’

He said the Federal Government was working in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Oracle Academy, Microsoft Cisco Academy and IBM.

According to him, they are working with the Federal Government in developing the curriculum alongside, the Federal Ministry of Education and the respective states.

The vice president said that the immediate plan was to reach, with this sort of education, at least 2 million pupils in the first year.

“The plan also envisions a new classroom structure that permits the cultivation, expression and early adoption of skills that will function in the environment that is already being created – the technology environment that is already being created.

“The next question we asked is, for whom do we plan? The answer is quite straightforward – it is the Nigerian child.

“Not just the ones in the urban areas or the few that are privileged to afford decent schooling above the weakened standards of public schooling generally.

“The real slogan for us is “Every Child Counts” and that is the name of the policy, which means we have democratised our vision of a qualitative and relevant education to reach every Nigerian child.

“Every Child Counts” ensures that all children, especially the number reported to be out of school now, and in those areas where children tend to drop out of school much faster, all of them deserve to get a decent education, all of them must be reached by this programme,’’ he said.

Osinbajo said he was proud of the way that Grange School had collaborated with his office in some of the important work it was doing at the learning centre in Maiduguri.

NAN

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2019: Osinbajo Is My Friend But I Remain Neutral – Femi Kuti

Afrobeat icon Femi Kuti has professed his friendship for Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the 2018 edition of Felabration which held Sunday night at the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja, Lagos.

Femi, son of Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti said he will however remain politically neutral going into the 2019 general election despite his long-standing friendship with Osinbajo.

He explained that his decision to be neutral is a political ideology inherited from his father, who was known to be politically neutral.

Prof Osinbajo graced the grand finale of Felabration showing support for Nigeria’s growing entertainment sector.

Felabration which is held every year on the week of Fela’s birthday began from October 15 and ended on 21.

In his short speech at the celebration, Vice President Osinbajo reiterated that Nigeria is on its way to achieving it goals and that the people will enjoy from the inclusive government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Osinbajo, a senior pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God prayed for the rousing audience and for Nigeria at the event.

He said, “Our country will be greater no matter what happens, this country will be great and greater and all of us who are here will be great and greater in this nation,” he prayed, to which the crowd replied with a thunderous ‘Amen’.

Just before he left the microphone, he muttered, “Let everybody, say Yeah, Yeah,” to the delight of the crowd which responded accordingly.

Speaking in Pidgin English, after the Vice President’s speech, Femi Kuti said, “Prof Osinbajo is my friend, he said he understands and he respects my view, but I have told him that I cannot support any political party because of my father (Fela Anikulapo-Kuti).

“He is my friend, you understand what I’m saying, he said he wanted to come to shrine and I am happy he did.”

Mr Kuti then went on to hug Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as he made his way to the backstage of the podium.

Osinbajo is renowned for promoting Nigerian talents and selling Nigeria’s entertainment sector both locally and internationally.

Last summer in the United States, he canvassed Hollywood heavyweights including leading movie and entertainment companies like Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Lions Gate, IMAX Entertainment, Warner Bros, Walt Disney, BET International and even the National Association of Theater Owners to invest in Nigeria’s entertainment sector especially Nollywood.

Osinbajo also met with renowned film, music and entertainment industry, including Innocent Idibia, popularly known as Tuface; New York-based Nigerian visual artist, musician, singer/songwriter, Laolu Senbanjo; CEO, Ebony Life TV, Mo Abudu, Chocolate City CEO, Audu Maikori; founder/CEO Terra Kulture, Bolanle Austen-Peters; New York artist, Sesan Ogunro among others to project the future of Nigeria’s entertainment industry.

 The Buhari administration also set up a working group on Creativity and Technology as part of the Industrial Competitiveness Council chaired by the Vice President. That council and the working group meets regularly including in the last week to being players in the private sector to help government develop policies for the sectors.

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At Oxford University, Prof Osinbajo’s Impeccable Record Continues,? By Bernard Okri?

Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President showed why he is renowned for oratory prowess and why he stands far ahead of his peers as he delivered his lecture off hand.

For those who have had the privilege of listening to him before or sitting across him at a table it was another pleasant opportunity to be dazzled again but for those who were listening to him for the first time, they were left spell bound.

Staring firmly at the former Lagos Attorney General of Lagos, they wondered where all the facts, figures and statements he reeled off were coming from. They were perplexed by his ability to narrate the Buhari’s administration successes without a prepared speech or even a piece of paper in hand.

Beyond that, he sold Africa, he sold Nigeria, and indeed he sold the black race before going on to inaugurate the Oxford Board of African Studies. It was a delight and a huge moment of pride for all Africans at the gathering.

Prof Osinbajo was one of their own and he was making them proud. Discussing Osinbajo, some said they’ve not seen a person so charming and gifted like him in Africa since Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan. He stood in a class of his own.

During the lecture, Prof. Osinbajo highlighted ongoing investments, efforts and plans of the Nigerian government and the progress it has made in improving the country’s Human Capital Development indices and investment climate, as well as the widespread impact of the National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP).

Despite the enormous challenges of Human Capital Development in Africa, the Vice President further called on African governments to unlock the “opportunities to significantly move the needle in the journey to vastly improved standards of existence for our people.”

Talking job creation and job sustainability, Prof Osinbajo explained that 349,000 new bank accounts have been open, while almost half a million small businesses in Nigeria have accessed the loan under the MarketMoni scheme – a short tenor interest-free credit of between N50,000 and N300,000 for small businesses under the auspices of their cooperative societies as a risk management device.

He also explained that by the end of 2018, two million petty traders nationwide would have benefitted from the TraderMoni, which provides them zero collateral and interest-free N10,000 loans.

Prof. Osinbajo also noted that out of the targeted one million, so far, almost 300,000 households have benefited from the N-SIP’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme, in which the poorest and most vulnerable households in the country are given N5,000 monthly.

He said the administration’s Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) was an important tool for financially empowering small businesses, artisans, market women, petty traders, and table top traders.

If the impact he made on the room was in doubt, the opportunity for photo ops pretty much sealed it. Like kids who were star struck, the audience flocked towards Prof Osinbajo to take pictures, it was a moment to savour then and in the future,and no one was willing to pass up on it.

Prof. Osinbajo who also inaugurated the International Advisory Board of Oxford University Area Studies Centre, under the School of Global and Area Studies, was received by Nigerian-born, first Black African Rhodes Professor at St Antony’s College, Oxford, Professor Wale Adebanwi.

The other members of the inaugurated board are eminent leaders from across the world, including several African countries like Nigeria and South Africa.

?Bernard Okri is a founding member of the Global Economic Policy Initiative?

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Re: Nigeria: Papering Over The Cracks – HSBC, By Ibrahim Olalekan

When President Buhari led the All Progressives Congress(APC) party into the 2015 general elections, his campaign focused on three major reforms namely re-positioning the economy, containing security threats and fighting corruption. This would indicate that he had made considerable effort to properly diagnose Nigeria’s socio-economic condition.

It should also be recalled that the APC administration inherited a cash-strapped mono product economy which was also extremely vulnerable. As was aptly put by HSBC “Nigeria’s painful recession” in 2016-2017 was in the offing owing also to the devaluation of the local currency the Naira by the previous administration from N155 to N199 to a dollar in 2014 in a bid to defend the Naira and reduce the depletion of foreign exchange reserves.

The writer’s allusion to Nigeria’s positive macroeconomic indicators only to opine that Nigeria has a disappointing macro outlook is very contradictory. To put this in perspective, it is important to reference some key macroeconomic indicators e.g current account surplus is 5% of GDP. Foreign exchange reserves at a historic high of $47bn. Headline inflation has decelerated from 18.4% at the start of 2017 to 11.23% in August 2018.

The total value of capital importation into Nigeria in Q2 2018 is $5.5bn. These strong fundamentals have supported the currency even in spite of monetary normalization in some advanced economies. The Naira has been relatively stable and performing satisfactorily compared with some of its peers and that of selected emerging economies.

The oil price shock in 2016 seriously affected government’s fiscal position and inadequate buffers for the rainy day led to the depletion of foreign reserves. Although unemployment stands at 19%, the expansionary fiscal policy of the Buhari administration reduced the impact of the 2016 economic headwinds on employment amid operations of factories.

The Social Investment Programme which includes N-power, Conditional Cash Transfer and Homegrown School Feeding programme were implemented to put the economy on the path of recovery. These programmes sustained the purchasing power of beneficiaries by maintaining the aggregate demand that kept factories in operation. This is akin to the stimulus packages the USA, China and the European Union unleashed during and after the 2008 financial crisis.

In fact, ultra low interest rates and fiscal expansion have just started to unwind in those countries.

Concerns about Nigeria’s legacy structural problems led to the rollout of some landmark initiative such as the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), National Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, Made in Nigeria for Exports et cetera. These programmes are conceptualized for the diversification of Nigeria’s economy away from oil and improve the competitiveness of Made in Nigeria goods in the international market. These policies are intended to put an end to jobless growth by creating jobs that are good for development.

Ibrahim Olalekan, a Public Affairs Analyst wrote from Abuja, Nigeria.

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Nigeria’s Problem Is Not Religion But Systemic Corruption, Says Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has said that the problem with Nigeria was neither ethnicity nor religion but systemic corruption.

Professor Osinbajo said this at the 30th National Biennial Conference of the Students Christian Movement (SCM) of Nigeria holding in Enugu.

He said that corruption had been so entrenched in the country that if you dare challenge it, you will be in the minority.

He, however, challenged the youths to change the narrative and make the difference by checking the impunity of those that had stolen the resources of the country.

“Our problem in this country is not ethnicity or religion; it is not about Christians or Muslims. Our problems are the same wherever you go in this country.

“The story of our country is about good and evil. It is about those that have left us in this condition by stealing our common resources.

“Do not let anyone deceive you.”

The acting president challenged members of SCM to ensure that the movement becomes one of the tools that will move the country forward.

“You should understand that our country can be delivered by people like you.”

According to him, young Christians have special and distinct roles to play in the transformation of the country which is superior to those of other sets of people.

“All of the great nations of the world were transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not a gospel that tickles people’s imaginations or dwells on prosperity.

“It is not a gospel that fits your fancy. It is a gospel that teaches that righteousness exalts a nation.”

Osibanjo appealed to Nigerians to stand against the plundering of the nation’s resources as well as support the anti-corruption initiative of the Nigerian Government, irrespective of party affiliations.

 

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