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Tinubu nominated me as VP —Osinbajo

Says: Nigerians facing the most challenging times

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday declared that former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, nominated him as running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Osinbajo’s clarification came against the background of President Buhari’s biographer claiming that the president picked him in defiance of pressures from Tinubu not to do so.

Osinbajo spoke in Lagos at the State of the Nation Colloquium organised by Coalition of Nigerian Apostolic Leaders, where he also said current steps being taken by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were aimed at finding lasting solutions to the nation’s economic problems.

Speaking on the controversy trailing his nomination as the vice president, Professor Osinbajo said, “The party’s national leader, a former governor under whom I served as a commissioner nominated me.”

He was Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice under Tinubu.

Osinbajo contended  that the solution to Nigeria’s problem did not lie in restructuring or adopting confederation as a system of government, but in ensuring that those at the helms of affairs do what they were elected for, instead of waiting on Abuja to share money to units of government at the end of every month.

Speaking on the State of the Nation, Vice President Osinbajo said the Federal Government was making frantic efforts to put an end to the issue of hunger, contending that it was a recognised fact that when there is hunger in the land, the people’s visions become blurred.

According to Osinbajo, governments and Nigerians were facing one of the most challenging times in the history of the country, especially in the area of the economy to the extent that people are forced to ask if “this is really the change they voted for.”

He said, “We are facing one of the most challenging times in the history of our country, especially in the area of the economy. The times are so challenging that sometimes you ask yourself what is really going on, like Pastor Wale Adefarasin asked, is this the change we voted for?”

Speaking on the cause of the current recession, the vice president said the country over the years, ran a single economic structure driven by a single commodity, stating that 80 per cent of the nation’s earnings came from sale of crude oil.

“We have a largely import-dependent economy where practically everything is imported. Everybody that claims to be a manufacturer is importing virtually all the components. Every parts of our economy is import-dependent and the economy depends on foreign exchange and 90 per cent of the foreign exchange comes from oil,” he said.

Osinbajo, while lamenting that huge resources were being expended on importation of food into the country, said about 11 states of the country had currently embarked on the mass production of rice to reverse the trend and ensure that the country achieved self-sufficiency in rice consumption.

“Because of oil Nigeria left agriculture. Take for instance Ivory Coast is now the leading producer of cocoa. We used to be the leading producer of cocoa. What has changed? Nothing, but oil. We just diverted our attention to easier way to make money,” Osinbajo said.

Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Mohammed, while speaking, said many years of misrule, accentuated by high level of corruption, worsened the current economic recession, saying all hands were now on deck to ensure that the problem of hunger was solved in the country.

The minister reiterated that government had intensified its fight against corruption and terrorism, while changing attitude of Nigerians in the way things were done rightly, even as he maintained that government was poised at communicating directly through channels such as Town Hall meetings and also getting feedback from the citizenry.

In his contribution, Lagos State governor, Mr Ambode Akinwunmi, represented by the state’s Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget Mr Akinyemi Ashade, said the state government had partnered with other state governments in the country to solve the problem of hunger.

According to him, the government had improved its tax administration and is currently targeting a N50 billion Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) by 2018.

Earlier, the presiding Apostle, Nigeria Coalition of Apostolic Leaders, Pastor Wale Adefarasin, said the excruciating effects of hunger and poverty in the country had made life  miserable for the people, saying, more than ever before, people now flock around worship centres begging for alms and wondering when the change they voted for would materialise.