By Adedayo Akinwale
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has revealed that he resisted pressure from public officials and party chieftains in the implementation of Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), saying that he insisted that Nigerians who knew no one could benefit.
He said while he was not trying to be a purist, he believed that if young people can’t get the benefit except they know someone, then the administration has failed the young people
The Vice President stated this yesterday when he received, on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, the executive committee of the Young Parliamentarians Forum led by its Chairman, Hon. Karu Elisha.
Osinbajo, in a statement issued yesterday by his Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the implementation of the SIPs was done openly giving everyone equal opportunity to benefit.
He stated: “The first problem was everybody wanted a slot. I resisted it. Why? If I do that, we will destroy the programmes because majority of Nigerians don’t know people who will take the slots.”
“It was not that one was being purist, but if young people can’t get the benefit except they know someone then we have failed the young people.”
“One day the President called me that he was listening to BBC Hausa Service and he heard two young men-beneficiaries of N-Power – saying they didn’t know anybody but were being paid the N30, 000 monthly stipends. The President said that is what shows we are making a difference.
“And everywhere we went during the 2019 campaigns, we had these young people organizing themselves coming out supporting us.
“If people know they count, then they can trust us and they won’t destroy because they have a stake. Otherwise, people will never trust us,” he submitted, insisting that political leaders must make sacrifices in order to win the trust of the people,” he added.
Osinbajo acknowledged the crucial place of youths in building a successful nation, stressing that the youths are not just a demography, but they are in the majority.
He welcomed the support of the House of Representatives members for the newly formed National Economic Council (NEC) committee set up yesterday to interface with youths, and other stakeholders on issues of employment, social safety-nets and national unity.
On his part, the leader of the delegation, Elisha, commended the Vice President’s sincere interaction with the youths over the years and especially in the wake of the #EndSARS protests across the country and called for improved interaction between youths and leaders at all levels.
In his contribution at the meeting, Hon. Luke Onofiok, from Akwa Ibom State also commended the courage exhibited by the Vice President in honestly addressing issues in the wake of the nationwide protests.