Osinbajo speaks on economy, Boko Haram, Biafra agitations, herdsmen killings
Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has again admitted that Nigerians are faced with serious challenges, including the Boko Haram, tensions in the Niger Delta, herdsmen-farmer clashes, threats of secession, poverty, unemployment and corruption.
Osinbajo spoke while declaring open the National Conference of Nigerian Association of Law Teachers (NALT) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka yesterday on Monday
He said all Nigerians must recognize that a lot of the agitations centered around the alleged failures of the state to create an inclusive society under existing constitutional arrangements, to guarantee the security of lives, liberties by the agencies charged with maintaining law and order and to build trust around the rule of law and the system of administration of justice.
Osinbajo stated: “First, on the matter of inclusion and inequalities, there is little doubt in my mind that the provision of the basics of life to the largest number of our people remains the greatest source of tension in the polity.
“The daily struggles of many, for healthcare, a means of livelihood and the absence of a socially just means of ensuring that many, especially young people, have access to education and jobs provides a constantly replenished pool of young malcontents, ready to be recruited into any sort of Army, whether it be of kidnappers, terrorists, or violent or antisocial agitation for one cause or the other.
“Besides, the constant agitation for share of national resources, is a product of individual-elite- deprivation, taken up by ethnic nationalities and socio-cultural groups. Each group views the other with suspicion when it comes to matters of resources, and government appointments.
“As it is at the Federal level, so it is at the State level. In my state for example, the Egba and Ijebus in Ogun State are constantly arguing over who is getting a better deal in government appointments or infrastructural development.
“Unfortunately, in order to give our campaigns greater acceptability and resonance, we often characterize them as ethnic or religious agitation. The right to a decent existence, to education, healthcare or jobs must not depend on how loudly my ethnic or religious group agitates; no, these are my rights as a citizen of Nigeria.
“It is the failure of the State to deliver on these essentials of life and livelihood that compels our people to run to their tribal and religious camps to seek succour by way of agitation for basic rights and services.
“Unfortunately, it is the same elite especially the political elite, who fail the people by the wastage and embezzlement of their funds who are at the forefront of pretending that their deprivations are caused by other ethnic nationalities.
“Having gone round this nation to its villages and settlements, everywhere in the course of the campaigns, and after, there is no doubt in my mind that poverty has the same character in Bodinga Local Government in Sokoto State as in Ayanmelum Local Government here in Anambra state; poverty on an Ibo man is not more dignified than on a Hausa Fulani man. Hunger is neither a tribal or religious issue.
“So, the question for us is how to resolve these issues. First is to place responsibility where it rightly belongs.It is the business of government, by that I mean the executive, legislature and judiciary to provide the enabling environment for the quality of life that people expect.
“Indeed the constitutional obligation to do so is clear. Section 14(2 ) (a) says that sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through the Constitution derives all its powers and authority ; and assures that (b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. This is crucial.