Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has warned that the tenured positions in the executive and legislature must not be wasted on conflicts and division.
He noted that the problems facing the country were too grave, noting that the lives and livelihoods of millions depended on the cooperation between the two arms of government.
Addressing African parliamentarians at the 16th Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers Conference on Tuesday in Abuja, Osinbajo also said that poverty, hunger and disease could become history in Africa through legislative and executive options that target education, food security and health care for all.
He pointed out that collaboration between the two arms of government could lead to improved living standard of the people and the nation’s progress.
Osinbajo stressed that leadership positions were meant for shaping the present and determining the future of millions and generations yet unborn.
According to him, it would be foolish for leaders to think that their positions were for self-aggrandisement or the pursuit of selfish interests.
“It is therefore my submission that the burden that the privilege of leadership places upon us is such that our tenured positions in the executive and legislature must not be wasted on conflicts and division. The problems are too grave, the lives and livelihoods of millions depend on our cooperation, we cannot afford to fail,” Osinbajo said.
Quoting the renowned British scientist, Prof. Stephen Hawking, Osinbajo said, “This is a dangerous time in the history of the world with the challenges of climate change, food security, overpopulation, and inequality but more importantly, the anger of the ignored and the marginalised majority.”
He added, “In Africa and the developing world, the angst and cynicism of the populace is worse; conflicts, corruption, weak institutions have ensured that the largest numbers of the poor and the deprived come from our continent and there is unanimity of opinion that it is the failure of leadership.
“So, while we speak of our legislative halls as hallowed chambers, our courts as temples of justice, and the executive villas as corridors of power, all suggestive of grand but isolated institutions, the reality for the majority of our peoples is the misery of the slums and the indignities of powerlessness.”
The acting President insisted that the responsibility that privilege and power place upon office holders is to do their utmost to change the current bleak narratives and projections for the nation and the world.
He explained that Nigeria which used to be the largest producer of rice in West Africa and the second largest importer of rice in the world had changed that story through executive-legislative collaboration.
He added that rice importation had dropped by over 80 per cent, noting that the nation would be self-sufficient in rice production by the end of 2018.
He claimed that the government had empowered over 1.43 million rice farmers.
“Again, because we chose to work together, the National Assembly at the request of the Executive appropriated N500bn, about $3bn for the largest social investments programme in sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.