Pressure from some Nigerian elites to slow down the ongoing fight against graft would not deter the Buhari presidency from ridding the country from the problem of corruption, according to Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
“We get regular messages from some Nigerian elites saying cool down,” the Vice President disclosed regarding pressures on the presidency to relent in the anti-corruption fight, during a meeting today in his office with a delegation from the Moslem Congress of Nigeria.
“It is a very strange morality that some of those people have, very complicated but cutting across all tribes and religious differences,” he noted. However he observed encouragingly that the masses of the Nigerian people on the contrary have a clearer understanding of right and wrong. According to him, “the masses don’t have that problem.”
Although some elites are saying “it is not a big deal,” and that government should merely ask the looters of the commonwealth of the nation to return the money and go, Prof. Osinbajo expressed gladness that “a new tribe of Nigerians who would not compromise their values but would maintain a sense of right and wrong is now emerging”.
“The man on the street is very clear, so whatever some of these elites say, we shall keep our focus on the masses who voted for us,” the Vice President declared. He said it is simply unacceptable that in the last 16 years there is not a single federal government completed road project, not to even talk of rail. “The reason is corruption,” he asserts, adding that the cost of projects are often inflated as people entrusted with public trust struggle to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.
He said it was the same inordinate desire for enrichment that explains why money meant to procure arms were being distributed among persons at a time when the territorial integrity of the nation was being attacked.
“The insurgency has gone on for 6 years because government could not adequately equip the military,” he stated
But the Vice President assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari and himself would not relent. He said the president and himself have no other agenda but “the progress of this country.”
Continuing, he reassured that “Mr. President and I are extremely focussed on what we need to do. We will focus on critical things, infrastructure and social investments.”
Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation from the Moslem Congress of Nigeria, Imam Abdulahi Shuaib conveyed the support of the organization to the government in its programmes including anti-corruption, and expressed readiness to offer assistance. According to him, “we are thankful that our candidates of choice in the election emerged.” He said the choice of the President and Vice President were made by God Himself during last year’s presidential election.
The Vice President also received delegations from the Nigeria Society of Engineers, NSE and the Facility for Oil Sector Transparency Reform, FOSTER, a group composed of NGOs involved in different issues in the Niger Delta areas.
At his courtesy meeting with the NSE, Prof Osinbajo praised the engineers and highlighted the importance of the profession in national development. “There is no question at all that engineers are central to the development of the society,” he noted. The NSE delegation was led by its President, Engineer Otis Anyaeji.
Speaking earlier while receiving FOSTER, the Vice President restated the government’s commitment to the development of the Niger Delta. He also commended the group for coming together to develop a common framework to support the process of development in the area. The group which said it adopted a common framework in order to avoid duplication was led by Mr. Richard Oshowole.