Despite making huge money from crude oil, the President Goodluck Jonathan administration failed to transform the lives of Nigerians, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said. He spoke on Thursday at the expended National Economic Council (NEC) on Investment in Human Capital, at the presidential Villa. Maintaining his position that grand corruption prevented investments in healthcare, education and infrastructure, Osinbajo added that the last government shamelessly robbed government policies of most if not all of their intended impact. He, however assured that the present administration is determined to change things. Osinbajo said: “To put Nigeria’s money to work for Nigerians, doing the most with the least, we have stayed true to that vision. Even as oil prices went into free fall, we ramped up investments in infrastructure, as well as our social spending.”
He further explained that the administration is painfully aware of the issues facing the country and it is prepared to take on headlong, the challenges the Dangote Foundation as well as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have outlined, saying: “And we have no choice, because the problem literally grows daily.” He noted that Nigeria has strong economic growth and development ambitions, encapsulated in her Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, launched in 2017. According to him all of those lofty ambitions can only be achieved through the determined application of human skill and effort.
“And for that effort to be meaningful and productive, it has to come from people who are healthy, educated, and who are, and feel empowered. He added, “It is this realisation that has helped ensured that one of the primary planks of the ERGP is ‘Investing in our people’. And it is for this reason that we are expanding the reach and quality of our healthcare, through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS); and working to guarantee basic education for all persons, whilst also upgrading and modernising the quality of secondary and post-secondary education.
“And because this is the 21st century, we know that it is also important to ensure that our young people are being prepared for the economies of the future, not the past. This means that STEM education is critical, and that technology must lie at the heart of every one of our educational offerings.” Osinbajo said the Social Investment Programme (SIP) launched in 2016 is a key component of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. He said the school feeding programme for example is “our way of achieving better health, nutritional and educational outcomes for Nigerian children.” “Apart from the health outcomes – children free from malnutrition and stunting – there are also important educational and economic benefits as well. By guaranteeing one hot meal a day to these children the scheme has pushed school enrollment rates upwards in many of the communities in which it is being implemented,” he stated.