Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has stated that the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency would not be deterred in its determination to rid the country of corruption, dismissing pressures on the government from some Nigerian elites “to slow down the ongoing fight against graft.”

Yemi Osinbajo

A statement released today by the VP’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, quoted Mr. Osinbajo, a former professor of law, as telling a delegation of the Moslem Congress of Nigeria that the government received “regular messages from some Nigerian elites saying cool down.” 

The VP told the delegation that those Nigerians advocating a brake on the fight against corruption have “a very strange morality,” adding that those championing a halt to the government’s anti-corruption fight cut “across all tribes and religious differences.” Mr. Osinbajo noted, however, that the Nigerian masses had a clearer understanding of right and wrong, and were fully behind the anti-corruption crusade. 

“Although some elites are saying ‘it is not a big deal,’ and that government should merely ask the looters of the commonwealth of the nation to return the money and go, Prof. Osinbajo expressed gladness that ‘a new tribe of Nigerians who would not compromise their values but would maintain a sense of right and wrong is now emerging,’” Mr. Akande disclosed in his statement.

According to the Vice President, “The man on the street is very clear. So whatever some of these elites say, we shall keep our focus on the masses who voted for us.” Mr. Osinbajo added that it was unacceptable that not a single Federal Government road project had been completed in the last 16 years, much less a rail project. 

The VP told the delegation that corruption was to blame, adding that officials entrusted with public office often inflated project costs in order to enrich themselves at the expense of the Nigerian people. According to him, the same inordinate desire for self-enrichment motivated the mindless embezzlement by a few individuals of funds budgeted for the procurement of weapons at a time when Nigeria faced a barrage of attacks from Islamist insurgents. 

“The insurgency has gone on for 6 years because government could not adequately equip the military,” the VP told the delegation. 

Mr. Osinbajo assured Nigerians that he and President Buhari had no other agenda than “the progress of this country.” He said the current administration was “focused on what we need to do. We will focus on critical things, infrastructure and social investments.”

In an earlier remark, Imam Abdullahi Shuaib, who led the delegation from the Moslem Congress of Nigeria, voiced his group’s support of the government’s programs, emphasizing the anti-corruption efforts. The delegation stated their readiness to offer any assistance to the government. Mr. Shuaib described President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo’s electoral victory in last year’s presidential election as reflecting divine choice.

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