The greatest challenges of the President Muhammadu Buhari- led administration are how to bring about 110 million Nigerians out of extreme poverty, as well as end Boko Haram insurgency.
This disclosure was made by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), on Friday night at a dinner organised in his honour by the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos.
Prof. Osinbajo, who noted that extreme poverty and illiteracy were the bane of the Nigerian society, stated that the government was open to ideas and contributions from professionals on how to solve the problem.
He stated that over time, successive governments have had various budgets including consolidation and budget of the future, but with little or no impact in the lives of the people.
While noting that the president understands the expectations of Nigerians, Prof. Osinbajo urged the elite not to leave eradication of poverty for the government alone, adding, “The real challenge today is how do you bring 110 million extremely poor people out of poverty? It’s not just a matter of creating some jobs, setting up industries and all that.”
According to him, “It is a much bigger challenge because that number of people are not just extremely poor, many of them lack education. I was in Borno State to visit the IDPs in the camps. One of the most frightening things that I’ve seen especially going around some of those states is the fact that so many people are completely illiterate, especially women and when I say completely illiterate, you can imagine someone who lives in the north and does not even speak Hausa.
“That’s the level of illiteracy we are talking about. That you are living up there in the north and you only speak a local dialect, you don’t even speak Hausa let alone English or any other language. That’s the kind of situation that our country is in especially in terms of a broader picture and I think that for those of us who are academics and professionals, it is a great challenge to us to generate answers/big ideas that would solve these problems. We, who are there are all ears to whatever ideas/thoughts you may have about these issues.”
The vice president observed, “Over time, I have come to recognise the incredible responsibility that we have, especially those of us who are professionals. And I think that in many ways we have the training, we have the knowledge and everything that it takes to take our country out of where it is and put it where it belongs on the map and I do not believe for one moment that we need to be in a political office to do so.
“There are so many different ways by which we can make a serious contribution. It helps if we are in political offices but I think there are so many things we can do, so many different outlets for us to focus our minds on solving the problems of poverty.”
On the deadline given the military to end terrorism in the North East, Prof. Osinbajo said it was achievable, adding that what President Buhari did was pass a presidential order to the newly appointed service chiefs, who he said, have also expressed their willingness to execute same.
“I know that it is entirely possible, I know that they can do it and we have a great military, we know that there have been problems such as lack of equipments and resources, but that’s a problem that we have to deal with as we go along.
“We have to fix the car while the engine is running, you can’t say we are going to wait until we get all the equipments before we do it. We have to fix this car while the engine is running, that’s what we are doing now,” he said.