You Must Endure Economic Hardship, Osinbajo Tells Nigerians

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ACTING President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday called on Nigerians to endure the present economic hardship pervading the country so that they can have a better tomorrow.

Addressing a 19-man delegation led by Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, President Ayuba Waba and his Trade Union Congress, TUC, counterpart,  Bala Kaigama, who were at the State House, Abuja, to deliver their grievances to the government, Osinbajo called for a collective effort from organised labour to deal a blow to the evil of corruption in Nigeria.

He said “there is no gain without some pains. There is no way you will eat an omelet without breaking an egg. There is so much we can do with the Nigerian economy. We are gong to be consulting with the labour unions and civil societies on our economic recovery and growth plan which we intend to launch this month”.

Osinbajo stated further “whatever it is that anyone may say about the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, we have an honest man. This country needs an honest leader for a start. If the leadership of this country is not honest, there is no way this country can survive. We will continue to go round the circle. Things might be difficult today, but I am completely sure if we stay the course this country will not only get out of recession but always go to the path of sustainable development. If we don’t fight corruption all we are doing is a waste. If a few can pillage the resources of the nation and get away with it then we will just continue to go around with it”.

Acting President Osinbajo challenged the NLC and TUC as well as all Nigerians to speak up against a powerful corrupt few in the country stressing that “every time you fight corruption the way we are trying to fight corruption, there is a major fight back, because corruption in this country is wealthy, powerful, influential and it is in every aspect of our lives. It is in practically all institutions including religious institutions”.

He described as regrettable social media campaign about bringing back corruption in Nigeria, saying that it is “an orchestrated one. Nobody that is suffering can say bring back corruption. Attempts by those who are being tried for corruption to delay trials is also part of the orchestrated campaign. If we don’t speak up against corrupt officials who make it look as if there is a witch hunt then we will not succeed in the fight”.

He said “government needs everybody to speak up . We have a serious battle in our hands and if we don’t win that battle this country will never get to the path of sustainable development. The major problem that this country has suffered so far is the looting of its resources. we must fight corruption hard, it is a tough one but we must fight it”.

Osinbajo spoke on government’s accountability strategies and noted that for a democratically elected government, “the government is committed to ensuring due process and rule of law. The president is a process driven person that accounts for the steps he has taken so far”.

He continued, “management of resources is critical especially when those resources are as small as what we are witnessing today. We want to ensure that everyone is held to account. If resources were not efficiently managed, we will not be able to do even the things we are doing now because we are operating at less than 60% of revenues as at 2015, today”.

He delved into the Federal Government’s social intervention policies noting that they were all designed with the welfare of Nigerians in mind and also to tackle unemployment in the country.

According to him “when we came on board there were 22 states that were not paying salaries, some into six or eight months, that was despite that oil prices were still high. President Buhari decided that salaries of workers across the states must be paid and that was what informed the first bailout. We were bailing out at a time we were losing 60 percent of our revenue on account of what was going on in the Niger Delta. We later did the second bailout, the third was the Paris Club refunds. These are sums of ones owed to states and nobody has ever paid that sum of money”.

In his opening remarks, Waba said they were concerned about good governance, accountability and the rule of law and urged the government to address the issues head-on stressing that “if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us”.

He urged the government to take the fight against corruption to all the three tiers of government lamenting that workers at the states and local government areas were still been owned salaries while governors and local government council chairmen misappropriate the funds meant for the workers.

In his own remark, TUC president Kaigama expressed the determination of organised labour and affiliate societies in supporting the government in fighting corruption and bad leadership in the country.

He noted that corruption was not all about cash but about the way we do things as a people and called on the government to show example by adhering to the rule of law to tally with the change mantra of the government.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) along with affiliate bodies, protested in Abuja but were prevented from going beyond the Federal Secretariat, to the Presidential Villa, to hand in their demands to the government. – FrontiersNews

—  Feb 9, 2017 @ 19:58 GMT

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