Acting President Osinbajo, governors seek closer cooperation

Cyril Okonkwo, Birin Kebbi.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has called on governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to work in synergy with the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government to deliver on the campaign promises of the party.

Professor Osinbajo stated this while delivering his speech at the Federal Government-Progressive Governors’ Forum Parley held at the Presidential Banquet Hall, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, North West Nigeria.

“This forum carries an ideological burden and a promise, represent an answer to what many of the progressive tendencies that come to form the APC understand as the failed and retrogressive policies of the past,” he said, pointing out that the federal government was “committed to an economic policy that has at its core the welfare and happiness of majority of Nigerians.”

According to Osinbajo, the President Buhari administration has worked on the key areas of social welfare, good governance, security and the fight against corruption.

He said the social intervention scheme of the administration was not a poverty alleviation scheme, but a programme designed not only to provide succor to the people but also to make them self-reliant.

He said: “First it is the largest single provision in our budget: N500 billion.  Second, it is one of the major pillars of our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.  Third, each intervention, including the Conditional Cash Transfers,   has a training and capacity building component such that the recipient of state assistant is enabled to earn income independently in a sustainable manner.  Fourth, our economic policy is based on the principle that we must grow what we eat and produce what we consume.  This principle was enunciated by the president in his budget speech in December of 2016.”

On the fight against corruption, Professor Osinbajo said there was need for leaders to be held accountable for their actions in government.

He said: “Leaders must be held to account for all of the resources of the state, for the resources of government.  That is the promise that we as APC leaders, we as APC members projected to the Nigerian people.   And we are fully confident that we can fulfill that promise.This is one of the key areas that we expect synergy.  The president has led the anti-corruption fight and we believe that by every means, all of the governors, all of the leadership of the APC must not only fully endorse it but implement every beat of our anti-corruption fight. “

Acting President Osinbajo said a lot has been achieved in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.

He said: “We all agree and I don’t think there is anybody who is in doubt that Boko Haram has been degraded as a military force.  But by the very nature of asymmetric warfare, we are still seeing situations where there are kidnappings, where there are suicide bombings etcetera.”

He said the major task for government in the north east of Nigeria at present was the rehabilitation of the people and the reconstruction of the infrastructure damaged by the insurgents using new initiatives.

“In our new scheme we are buying grains from only our own farmers to ensure that our people, especially in the IDP camps and the host communities, are fed.   So, we have already cut short two million tonnes metric tonnes of grain, which would have been imported this year alone.  We have ensured that farmers are the beneficiaries of every one of our feeding programmes,” he stated.

He also said government has also embarked on the Bama Initiative to reconstruct the second largest city in Borno State, which was devasted by the activities of the insurgents.

He said the synergy required between the states and the federal government derives from the fact that the federal government and the progressive governors belong to the same party.

The Acting President added: “The federal government’s priorities are already well known, especially to this audience.  But a number of principles guide our approach especially to increasing policy synergy with the state.  This relates, for instance, to sending clear policy signals, extending support to the states, interventions to tackle specific problems, collaborations in project delivery and innovative means of managing institutions for promoting policy synergy between the federal government and the states.”

At the parley, the Ministers of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Mary Uwais, had presented the score cards of the ministries and agency to the parley, detailing the achievements they have recorded and the challenges that needed to be tackled.