Delegates Raise Pertinent Issues as Osinbajo Rounds Off Nationwide Consultations
Emameh Gabriel in Abuja
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo yesterday completed his nationwide consultation with national delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) using Lagos State, a strong hold of the national leader of the ruling APC and presidential hopeful of the party, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, as the rallying point to end his engagement with party delegates.
Osinbajo’s visit to Lagos completed his visit to the 36 states of the federation and the FCT where he had robust engagement with delegates and stakeholders of the APC who joined state governors, senior party leaders and traditional rulers to receive him in their various states.
Osinbajo, who is expected to be screened this week, along other 21 presidential aspirants of the APC, said the nationwide consultations with the people was critical, especially in a country as diverse and complex as Nigeria.
In essence, the consultation was not only meant to solicit support from delegates, but also to listen to the diverse or peculiar challenges in each region as well as feedback from the electorate.
It also gave them the opportunity to interrogate government policies and plans put in place by the present administration and for the vice president to fulfill his promises if elected.
Among the key issues raised by delegates was what they described as poor reward system in the APC.
Most delegates could not hold back the feelings to express their frustration, especially those in the south-east who lamented that being members of the APC in the region was enough to place anyone in harm’s way.
The same issue was raised in Kwara, Nasarawa and other PDP controlled states. The vice president who acknowledged this said one of the reasons for the engagement was to hear directly from the people to understand their pains or grievances, but advised that party members must be involved in the process so that they could be identified.
“After every session, I will take a picture with every one of you so that you can hold me to my words tomorrow if I become the president. You can use this to remind me of my promise, Osinbajo had told all the delegates across the 36 states and the FCT during his tour,” he said.
Speaking on tackling insecurity, Osinbajo said the challenges were that the challenge in the country today was different from what the government met in 2015.
He also noted that the number of security personnel policing the country was grossly inadequate considering its size, adding that more personnel and technology needed to be engaged for the country to be properly policed.
However, he assured that with the purchase of sophisticated military weapons, he was confident that the challenge would be dealt with.
He said: “The size of the armed forces is too low for the population of Nigeria, a local government in Niger state, Mashegu has the land mass the size of southeast states and Lagos State with about a 100 policemen that is very inadequate, so, to police the country properly, we need more hands in the police and the armed forces.
“We also need our own local ammunition manufacturing company, we have started that at DICON, but we need to expand its capacity to produce more ammunition.
“We also need weapon and defence system manufacturing outfits locally. Presently, we depend on the western country for weaponry and the system is very complex. For instance, we pay for Tucano fighter jets and it takes over four years to get the jets into the country.”