President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is in government purely for the Nigerian people and is always open to talk and dialogue, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has said.
“We are here for the people, if not for the people, we will not be here.
“We got here by the grace of God and the votes of the man on the street who felt it is time for change”, he said.
Osinbajo spoke on Tuesday in Abuja, when a delegation of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) visited him at the Presidential Villa.
He said it is important to the Buhari Presidency to talk and dialogue, “even if we disagree, we must still talk.
“The reason is that the government itself is the government of the people”.
Prof. Osinbajo stated that “nobody is in government by inheritance”, adding “we are here today because the people chose us and that is the reason we must be prepared to listen to issues that concern Nigerians”.
According to the vice president, the Buhari administration had set out a number of initiatives to better the lot of ordinary Nigerians.
He listed them as the six social investment programmes for which N500 billion has been earmarked in the 2016 appropriation bill, among others.
Mr. Osinbajo told the union leaders that government would take a look at all the issues raised carefully.
He recalled that the Buhari administration packaged a bailout for workers last year, and added that no government, especially the Buhari administration, would set out to deliberate punish the people.
“We are here for the people and we want to identify with the people”, he added.
On the new electricity tariff, which the TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama labelled as “anti-people”, the vice president urged the union to not just condemn it.
“We are open to your suggestions, but it is not enough to say it is a wicked tariff.
“We must answer the question how”, referring to the challenge of compensating the electricity value-chain.
Mr. Osinbajo enjoined all Nigerians to support government in the fight against corruption, adding: “if you don’t fight corruption, you cannot even deal with the economy.
“You need to hold corrupt people accountable because they stole the money meant for the economy”.
Commenting on the extent of damage that the corruption of past government caused, he observed that “our sense of outrage is nowhere near what has happened.
“Some people are even arguing why are we going after the looters? That we should concentrate on the economy.
“But if we don’t fight corruption, we can’t deal with the economy effectively”.
Prof. Osinbajo added that “what has happened in this country is criminal”.
Earlier, leader of the delegation, Kaigama, said the visit was to avail the Congress the opportunity to discuss with the vice president on some pertinent issues affecting the nation, especially the working class.
The TUC also expressed support for the Buhari administration’s zero-tolerance for corruption.
According to Kaigama, “Nigerian workers are solidly behind you in the fight against corruption, we are ready to come out in solidarity and show our support”.