Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the involvement of religious leaders, private sector individuals and traditional rulers in corruption across the country is making it difficult for the government of Muhammadu Buhari to quickly eliminate it, even as it threatens other sectors of the nation’s economic development.
Professor Osinbajo insisted that for Nigeria to turn a new leaf in the overall socio economic development, it must deal with corruption decisively.
“It is difficult (to deal with it) because it is systemic and affecting all institutions; perpetrated by a leadership elite that includes, not just politicians, but private sector individuals, and even religious leadership.”
The Vice President, who spoke at the Greater Nigeria Pastors’ Conference in Lagos yesterday, Friday, said: “we stand on the threshold of perhaps the most significant moment in the history of our nation. It is a time of economic challenges, ethnic and religious tensions.”
Professor Osinbajo who acknowledged that Nigeria is “in the pains of childbirth and we will soon experience the same sweetness and joy of childbirth,” said that one of the negative indices against the realization of the nation’s full potential in actual development are also tribalism, religion and other parochial tendencies.
“Unfortunately, because of state failure in some respects, many, even pastors, have gone into their tribal groups and speak and act mainly from that perspective. But, perhaps, the most important problem is the failure of Christian leadership to take our rightful place. We have focused our minds on an Islamic agenda, seeking and finding it in every action, or inaction. But where is the Christian agenda? We are too divided to craft one.”
He said however that beyond all such negativisms, is the clear sign that Nigeria has arrived at the corridors of building a new nation, adding: “it is a time, when by the sheer grace of God, we have the greatest opportunities, to be, not just Africa’s largest economy by GDP, but also its most efficient and most productive.
“We will, by 2050, be the 4th largest nation by population in the world, and we can, like China, also become one of the ten most successful economies in the world by that date. This is our best moment yet because we have shown that, despite the lowest earnings from oil in the past 15 years and, in 2016, recording the lowest production of oil in the past 20 years, and a recession as a consequence, we could still invest N1.3 trillion, the largest amount of money in capital projects in 15 years.
“We have shown that as difficult and painful as a recession might be, we have the capacity to come out of it and begin the building of an economy that emphasizes productivity and will provide enough jobs. We began the massive diversification of our economy by investing in agriculture. We set targets for self-sufficiency in rice, tomato paste, sorghum, millet. We are now one of the world’s largest producers of paddy rice. Milling is the weak link, but in the past year, several new mills have been open. The latest is the Wacot mill in Kebbi. Coscharis and Dangote have already invested in about 1 million Mt of capacity.”
The Vice President that the government is working daily on the whole farm- to- table value chain and, is expecting that the next industrial explosion will come from agri-business.
“We are providing the environment for small businesses. The major problem is access to finance, and interest rates. We are working with the CBN and development finance institutions to crack that problem. [myad]