Poverty: Strong state a panacea says Osinbajo

    • state police, education,health care cardinal

    By Lanre Adesanya

    The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has advance that only in a symbiotic relationship between the executive, legislature and judiciary lies the strength for building a virile nation where poverty is banished, citing the importance of tax payment in the evolution of a functional state.

    Osinbajo asserted this position yesterday, while delivering a lecture at the special parliamentary session  in commemoration of the 3rd Anniversary of the 8th Assembly of Lagos State which took place at the chamber of the Lagos state House of Assembly, Alausa.

    He however modified the topic of the lecture which was initially couched as ‘Strengthening legislative institutions: panacea for eradicating democracy’, to ‘Stronger state and the eradication of poverty’, stating that the legislature is no longer an Island.

    Osinbajo counseled that to ensure an outstanding economic growth there is need to focus more on education, healthcare and provision of jobs through deliberate programmes and an unfettered funding of these enumerated sectors to benefit the majority of the citizens.

    He noted that the main issue and concern is how do we service and make a good living for ourselves, “the important change that we can make in Nigeria is reduction of poverty via creation of a stronger state– legislature,executive and judiciary.

    “To eradicate poverty we need to have stronger state working proactively for creation of economic wealth for the citizenry, especially the informal sector which harbours 60 percent of our GDP, the challenge of poverty need be tackled ahead of projected population increase by 2050.

    The inventory of informal business transactions between 5000-10000 naira is forgotten in the budgetary projection, we need to expand our micro credit programme to give credits to them to transmute them from the informal to the formal sector.

    “If we can work on preventable diseases this will also serve us better, it is time for compulsory health insurance, every state must have its own spending on health care and education.

    “The three arms of government in the states must work proactively for the economic development of its citizens. To achieve this there must be devolution of powers to the states to enable them control their resources”, Osinbajo said.

    He cited the great feat achieved by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who as Premier of then Western region recorded achievements that were acknowledged world wide and most of which has remained enduring till date,relying solely on revenue from taxes and cocoa.

    Osinbajo added that while he was not averse to the ardent clamour for devolution and restructuring, a strong autonomous sub national could be created without making any major constitutional changes.

    He however noted the importance of taxation,that in the glorious era of the Western Region premiered by the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo, 41.2 percent of the budget was earmarked to ensure free universal basic education for all, garnered from income tax.

    He cited how synergy between the the three arms of government in the state right from the time of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu till the present governor of the state Akinwunmi Ambode has been able to win series of cases at the Supreme Court which has positive ripple effect on all other states in federation, courtesy the collaborative efforts of the government apparatus in Lagos state.

    According to him, the Lagos Assembly has advanced the course of federalism by the passage of  laws which has further strengthened federalism in Nigeria.

    The Vice President disclosed that the present government is working round the clock to  create an environment for business to grow especially a micro credit scheme for those at the lower rung of the economic ladder to lift them out of poverty.

    He commended the Lagos state government for creating exemplary institutions for economic growth and development.

    Osinbajo also made a case for state policing to tackle present security challenges confronting the nation, saying that “we must have state police and community police,policing is a local function any police man must understand the local language to police effectively. Herdsmen militarizing some part of Benue are due to weak policing”.

    In his view leadership is God given and the most important occupation one could ever have to touch lives of millions.

    The discussant Rt.Hon. Ghali Umar Na’Abba former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, was firm on the need for an autonomous legislature, noting that the tenets of real democracy are well protected and adhered to when stakeholders are working as a team.

    According to Na’Abba there is also a need for all to align their faiths with democracy, the principle of not doing to others what we won’t to ourselves, this he insist will solidify internal democracy and evolve a democracy that is responsive to our needs.

    He charge the government to carry along all stakeholders in the polity in a robust caucus meeting that will emerge with an enriched outcome due to inputs from the members, citing faulty decision making process as the basis of Nigeria’s economic woes.

    He also harp the need for the reactivation of the middle class to rejig the economic frame of Nigeria.

    Earlier in his welcome address the chief host Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa Speaker Lagos State House of Assembly noted that in three years the Assembly has passed 28 bills into law and over 100 resolutions on education, health, power, transport, security and environment for the well-being of lagosians.

    “It is noteworthy to emphasise the need for the survival of the legislature by all means for democracy to thrive and be sustained.

    ” This must be seen as the responsibility of all, most especially the executive. The executive must go a step further to ensure the survival of the legislature.

    “An executive arm that negatively influences the business of the legislature cannot be categorised to be a democrat hence, the executive should play the role of a father who ensures the survival of his child however the relationship between the executive and legislature should be cordial otherwise, a sign of instability and catastrophe will rear its ugly head”.

    Obasa commended Ambode for a good job he is doing which is visible all over the state “he has turned the whole state into a construction yard.”

    Giving his remarks Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode praised the leadership of the state Assembly for team dynamics and  infrastructural development within the Assembly.

    According to him the three arms of government in the state have always worked together and have strived to show a good example of tenents of democracy and what growth and development should be “and with that collaboration we will take Lagos to where it is suppose to be”

    Governor Rauf Aregbesola from the state of Osun in his own remark recognized the importance of the erstwhile Governor of Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola who he said has aided the continuum culture of governance in the state after the Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, praying God to give Fashola the grace to know that continuity is sustained by team spirit.

    He however express mixed feelings over the sudden inferno recorded on Lagos/Ibadan expressway, citing that “not only our sympathy is needed, our sympathy will be meaningful if the MOT certification of vehicles initiated by the Lagos State government is reactivated, this road worthiness check would have taken care of that sad occurrence.

    Dignitaries at the event includes: Former Deputy Governor Mr.Femi Pedro who represented Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Deputy Governor Mrs. Idiat Oluranti Adebule members of the Lagos State Governor Advisory Council, Chief Lanre Razak,Olorunfunmi Bashorun,Kaoli Olusanya, Alhaji Akanni Seriki Bam and  Rabiu Oluwa,House of Representatives Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila,APC state chairman Mr. Ibrahim Tunde Balogun, APC National Legal Adviser, Hon. Babatunde Ogala, APC women leader Chief Mrs.Jumoke Okoya , Lawyer and Rights Activist, Femi Falana (SAN), German envoy Mr. Hingo Albert,Secretary to the state government, Tunji Bello and other exco members, Body of Permanent Secretaries,traditional rulers.