President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is in government purely for the Nigerian people and is always open to talk and dialogue, according to Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
“We are here for the people, if not for the people, we will not be here. We got here by the grace of God and the votes of the man on the street who felt it’s time for change,” the Vice President told a delegation of the Trade Union Congress who visited him today at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He said it is important to the Buhari presidency to talk and dialogue, “even if we disagree, we must still talk. The reason is that the government itself is the government of the people.”
Prof. Osinbajo stated that “no body is in government by inheritance”, adding that, “we are here today because the people chose us and that is the reason we must be prepared to listen to issues that concern Nigerians.”
Emphasizing that the president and himself are always ready and available to engage with the Nigerian people, Prof. Osinbajo explained that government has set out a number of initiatives to better the lot of ordinary Nigerians including the six social investment programs for which a sum of N500B has been allocated in the 2016 budget.
The Vice President discussed issues including the new electricity tariffs, minimum wage among others with the delegation, and promised that government will remain engaged. “We will take a look at all the issue carefully,” he told the delegation.
He recalled that the Buhari administration packaged a bailout for workers last year and added that no government, especially the Buhari administration will want to punish the people. “We are here for the people and we want to identify with the people,” he added.
On the new tariff, the Vice President urged the union to not just condemn it. “We are open to your suggestions, but it is not enough to say it is a wicked tariff. We must answer the question how,” referring to the challenge of compensating the electricity value-chain.
Prof. Osinbajo enjoined all Nigerians to support government in the fight against corruption, adding that “if you don’t fight corruption, you cannot even deal with the economy, you need to hold corrupt people accountable because they stole the money meant for the economy”.
Commenting on the extent of damage that the corruption of past government caused, he observed that “our sense of outrage is nowhere near what has happened. Some people are even arguing why are we going after the looters, that we should concentrate on the economy. But if we don’t fight corruption, we can’t deal with the economy effectively.”
According to him, “what has happened in this country is criminal,” noting that the government won’t listen to those who says “we should just go on,” without holding corrupt people accountable.
Earlier, the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, said the purpose of the visit was to avail the Congress the opportunity to parley with the Vice President on some pertinent issues affecting the nation, especially those that related with the working class of Nigerians.
The TUC also expressed support for the Buhari administration’s zero-tolerance for corruption. According to Kaigama, “Nigerian workers are solidly behind you in the fight against corruption, we are ready to come out in solidarity and show our support.”
Also today, Vice President Osinbajo, received in his office, the Danish Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Kristian Jensen accompanied by the Ambassador of Denmark to Nigeria, Mr. Torben A. Gettermann and other Danish embassy officials. He commended the collaboration between Nigeria and Denmark at several levels.
The Vice President also commended the re-opening of the Danish Embassy in Abuja and Consulate in Lagos, noting that it indicates a strong cooperation between both countries.
Earlier, the Danish Foreign Minister, Kristian Jensen, commended the Federal Government’s effort in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency and the planning for the resettlement of the displaced people. He said his country would like to strengthen its relationship with Nigeria being a voice in the ECOWAS region and in the continent.
In another meeting today, Vice President Osinbajo expressed Federal Government’s commitment to tackle the decline in the education sector. He stated this when he received a delegation of the Afenifere Renewal group led by Hon. Olawale Oshun, who lamented recent poor performance in education across the country and especially in the South-West. He also urged the Federal Government to review the existing educational policy and called for devolution of powers towards achieving true federalism in the country.