The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)’s social welfare policy of providing real opportunities by direct spending for the poor was crucial in eliminating poverty in the country.
Osinbajo stated this in Kano at a reception held on Saturday in honour of Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, social spending by governments at all levels is crucial in plans to eliminate poverty in the country.
He said that while the government is providing the enabling environment for free enterprise, it is proactively intervening by way of social protection and the enhancement of opportunity for the very poor.
Osinbajo noted that the most important cause of poverty was official corruption at the highest level of government.
While extolling Shehu’s virtues, the Vice-President said that he found in him the attributes of integrity, loyalty and humility.
The VP said that there was scarcity of those willing to speak the truth to those in power, especially if they were aides, but Shehu was always ready to speak truth to the authorities.
Osinbajo said Shehu epitomized the new elite – “not the elite that sought power and exercised it without responsibility.’’
“He is open and willing to engage intellectually and willing to concede when he has a superior opinion, and an elite whose time has come.
“But, it is the elite who realizes that in a nation where two-thirds are extremely poor and poorly educated, that portion that is educated or wealthy, must exercise it with responsibility.
“That responsibility is the responsibility to fight for, speak for and defend the teeming poor and the less privileged; the responsibility to ensure good governance, transparency and accountability,’’ Osinbajo, a Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said.
In his remark, Alhaji Maitama Sule, the chairman of the reception, took a swipe at the level of corruption in Nigeria.
Sule said that Nigeria was presently blessed with men like Buhari and Osinbajo at the helm of its affairs to rescue the poor and the nation from its ills.
Shehu, in a brief remark, expressed gratitude to his media colleagues and the Kano Emirate for their respective assistance to him. He said that he was humbled by the reception.