Although the Federal Government is committed to ensuring the current hardship faced by Nigerians is alleviated, the full impact of a positive change of government may not materialise until 2018, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo hinted on Sunday.
Mr. Osinbajo, during an interview with journalists at after a church programme in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital, said the Muhammadu Buhari administration is “focused and determined to ensure this country is put on the right track.”
He said the government was aware a lot of Nigerians had become sceptical of the ‘Change’ mantra of the administration.
“There are lots of people who will say where is the change they promised,” he said. “People will condemn and shout, but we are very focused, calm and extremely confident that God is on our side and this country will not be the same.”
He, however, indicated that the full impact of the change may take a couple of years, until 2018.
“In another couple of years, we will see the difference,” he said.
“All of us have a part to play in the change. Nigerians must be patriotic in our dealings and daily activities. We should be committed to the nation,” said the vice president whose administration has come under heavy criticism from Nigerians for the handling of the economy.
Mr. Osinbajo also said pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta is the major cause of Nigeria’s current economic recession.
He said vandalisation has led to the loss of about 60 per cent of oil revenue, government’s major income source.
“One of the key reasons why we are in recession is the fact that we lost about 60 per cent of our revenue due to the vandalisation of the pipelines on the Niger/Delta and we lost almost 40 per cent of the gas,” he said.
The Vice-President, however, expressed optimism that Nigeria would soon overcome the challenge of vandalism
“Once we are able to resolve that, we would at least be able to earn more revenue,” he said.
Mr. Osinbajo’s optimism might be related to the fact that the Federal Government recently commenced negotiations with militant groups in the Niger Delta.
The Niger Delta Avengers, the main group responsible for most of the vandalism, recently announced a unilateral ceasefire, agreeing to conditional talks with the government.
On Sunday, Mr. Osinbajo also said the best way for the government to fully revive the economy was to diversify into agriculture and solid minerals.
He said work has begun in those two sectors and results would be gradually achieved.
The vice president said government was concerned about the number of unemployed youth.
He said the government would soon commence the implementation of the 500,000 job opportunities for volunteer corps as well as implement the planned micro credit facilities to a minimum of one million market women and artisans.
Mr. Osinbajo alluded to corruption as another major reason the country was facing its current economic challenges.
“These are challenging times. It is very obvious and we know the reasons,” he said.
“It is high level of corruption and we have dealt with that. We are controlling government expenditure. Once you can control corruption, we are out of it.”
Mr. Osinbajo, a Redeemed Church Pastor before his election, said he believes Nigeria “is one that God has a hand in its affairs.”
“In fact, the reason why President Buhari is in office is because God has a plan and hand in this nation; that this nation will be governed properly; that stealing of resources will stop; that we focused on issue of development.”