Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says collaborations between the executive and legislative arms of government can yield positive results that would better the lives of the people.
Osinbajo spoke on Tuesday as he declared opened the 16th Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers Conference, COSPOC, holding at the ECOWAS Parliament, Abuja.
He said: “Poverty , hunger and disease can truly become history by pursuing those legislative and executive options that target education food security, healthcare for all. Let me say that the National Assembly and the executive have shown that when we work together we can make the quantum leaps in bettering the lives and livelihoods of our people.”
According to the acting president, the two arms of government have worked collaboratively to ensure self-sufficiency in agricultural production, empowerment of the citizens and in security.
He said: “Today by a combination of progressive legislative appropriation to agriculture and providing single digit credit under our anchor borrowers programme for the purchase the right fertilizer quality and other inputs and credit, many rice farmers moved from getting yields of 3.5 metric tonnes per hectare to 7.5 metric tonnes per hectare. Importation of rice has dropped by over 80percent and we will be self sufficient in rice production by the end of 2018. We have empowered the rural farmers, over 1.43 million rice farmers alone.”
Professor Odinbajo said that by working together, the National Assembly, at the request of the executive, appropriated N500 billion( about 3billion dollars) for the largest social investments programme in sub-Saharan Africa.
He said the fund enabled the Nigerian government to engage 500,000 young graduates in our NPower scheme, to give cash transfers to a million of the poorest in society, to extend microcredit to a million market women, artisans, and small businesses.
He said government has also begun a social housing fund in the sum of one trillion Naira with government putting in 100billion annually.
“The Executive and the Legislature in the worst days of the boko haram tragedy also worked together to ensure that adequate provision was made for the military including prompt passing of virements when initially budgeted funds ran short,” Professor Osinbajo said, pointing out that this has led to the decimation of the boko haram insurgents and ensured that they control no part of Nigerian territory.
Osinbajo said the positions occupied by legislators and the executive were tenured and must not be wasted but be used to impact on the lives of their people.
He said: “It is therefore my submission that the burden that the privilege of leadership places upon us is to that our tenured positions in the executive and legislature must not be wasted on conflicts and division. The problems are too grave, the lives and livelihoods of millions depend on our cooperation we cannot afford to fail.”
Speaking at the Conference, President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, urged the parliamentarians to partner and chart a new cause for Africa.
Others who spoke at the conference were the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Lindiwe Maseko.
Speakers and presiding officers from various Commonwealth countries in Africa are attending the conference.