Nigeria Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that the federal government led by President Muhammed Buhari is setting target to make the country a better one for every citizen to live in.
Osinbajo said this in Abeokuta on Saturday while delivering a lecture at the 10th anniversary of Crescent University, Ogun state, themed “Nigerian economy and the future.
He maintained that the country’s economy cannot move forward if the attack by Islamist sect, Boko Haram persist, noting that, security of lives and property is paramount to the government.
The number two citizen of Nigeria, however posited that education policy has to be adjusted with new curriculum in place to assist in investing in education, stating that, no modern economy can develop with adequate investment in education.
Osinbajo stated that despite all the mineral resources in Nigeria, managerial skills of past leaders have been the problem, declaring that, 66 per cent of Nigerians are extremely poor.
He accused the wealthy people in the society of greed, adding that, without contentment, the society will not improve. “When you are too wealthy, you are becoming slightly crazy,” he said.
“Nigeria is blessed with good weather for agriculture and the future of this country depends on how we manage our God given resources. As at today, 66 per cent of Nigerians are extremely poor and our level of poverty explain why many Nigerians have been dying.
“Facts emerged that 55,000 Nigerians women die yearly because of maternal related diseases. The country has natural abundant resources like oil, gas and others storage all over the country, yet our GDP is still in single digit. Countries like Thailand, Belgium, Singapore, Taiwan have no mineral resources and they are living happily.
“Between 2011-2015, the oil price has moved up and our external reserve which was at around 100-150 billion dollars has fallen to 32 billion dollars and in 2008, the oil prices dropped and our external reserve stands at 68 billion dollars.
“As at today, many states in the country, about 23 states cannot pay their workers, they have outstanding payment and to let you know, the federal government is inheriting the largest debt profile in the history of this country. Much dependent on oil in the last four decades has been a bane for our economy.
“Let me explain something to you here, in 1960, when we regained our independence, agriculture was the focus then. Agriculture accounted for 67 per cent of our GDP while oil accounted for just 0.6 per cent. In 1964, oil has risen to 45.5 per cent with agriculture dwindling to 35 per cent. Now, oil is responsible for almost 70 per cent of our GDP, leaving agriculture to 30 per cent.
“Part of the target of this government is that our economy grows to at least double digit for some period of time. With the population growth, we cannot sustain the economy with the GDP which stands at just 6 per cent. Also, tax payment is a major economic issue in the country, people don’t want to pay tax because they complain of not seeing what the money collected from them have been done with and if you don’t pay, there will be nothing to show,” Osinbajo explained.
It would be recalled that Osinbajo alongside other notable Nigerians were saddled with responsibilities to design and produce a manifesto for the All Progressive Congress, APC after the formation in 2013, which later culminated in the presentation of the roadmap to a new Nigeria in March 2014.
After his lecture, Osinbajo described the founder of the institution, Prince Bola Ajibola as his father, having served under him as his Special Adviser (Legal Advice and Litigation) when Ajibola was the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
“Latest report has it that Nigeria is ranked 170 of 184 countries where businesses is done easily. Global competition is increasing on a daily basis and Nigeria is not moving along this trend, but we are looking at the rankings alone, we are also challenging ourselves.
“A very close example is Rwanda here in Africa, if you get to Kigali today for business, you will process all the necessary business documents within five hours without passing through any strenuous steps. Nigeria can do better than this, if all the bottlenecks, corruption and unnecessary bureaucracy is removed. We are setting a target, which we will surely achieve, a system where cost of doing business is not cumbersome.
“Another major problem is the issue of Boko Haram insurgency, Niger Delta problem is also part of it. Every form of instability, every form of insurgency are problems to the country’s economy. Any form of militancy must be avoided to enable Nigerians to live in peace and harmony, these are factors needed to have a sustainable economy.
Commenting on the power sector, Osinbajo attributed vandalisation of pipeline, corruption, focusing on uncompleted contracts among others as contributors to the abysmal power supply in the country.
“Vandalisation of pipeline also contribute. Over 400,000 barrel of oil are stolen daily. Ghana is also an oil producing country, what they are producing daily is just 150,000 barrels per day. So, can you see the difference between what is being stolen from Nigeria and what is produced in Ghana?
“Supplying gas to our power plant will be increased and we will ensure efficient and effective power supply. Or generating capacity is 13,000MWH and what we are producing now is just 3,000MWH while our transmission grid can only take 5,000MWH, so we will increase capacity to transmit. We will also task those that buy the power sector to increase their capital investment.
“Nigeria has the 8th largest gas reservation in the world, yet we are struggling to supply our citizen with power. I want to assure Nigerians as President Muhammed Buhari has been saying al these days, especially during our campaign all over the country, transparency is our watchword. If we don’t kill corruption, it will kill us. We will kill corruption, no matter how strong it may be. Our economy will soon regain its lost glory which we will all be proud.
Crescent University is the first Islamic university in Nigeria and upon meeting all requirement was approved by Nigeria University Commission, NUC on June 1,2005 and the licence was formally presented to the Proprietor, Judge Bola Ajibola in Abuja on June 9, 2005 by the then Minister of Education, Mrs Chinwe Nora Obaji.
The pioneer Vice Chancellor of the institution, located along Ayetoro road in Abeokuta is Prof.Fola Lasisi while a UK-based Nigerian, Prof. Ibrahim Gbajabiamila, who assumed office November 2014 is the current Vice Chancellor.
Among the dignataries at the tenth anniversary include the Olowu of Owu, Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu; HRH (Dr.) Ndanusa Yahya; Sultan of Sokoto represented by Emir of Songha; Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun represented by Barr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, Secretary to the State Government; Prof. Isiaq Oloyede, General Secretary, NSCIA; Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo representing the Yoruba Council of Elders; Aremo Taiwo Alimi, Mr Femi and Akin Osinbajo, senior and younger brothers of the Vice President; Abiola Fernandez, Erelu of Lagos and Apostle Awolowo, Nigerian Tribune boss among others.
The Vice President later took off in a chopper marked Police around 3:17pm for Ikenne, his hometown with his siblings while crowd cheers chanting ‘Sai Buhari, Sai Baba’.