Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday admitted that millions of Nigerians are extremely poor.
He said elected leaders would be irresponsible if they don’t collaborate and sort out what he called the nation’s life-threatening problems.
Osinbajo said these at the closing of the two-day executive-legislative leadership retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said members of the executive and legislative arms of governments do not have a choice than to collaborate if they are not to fail Nigerians who have given them the opportunity to serve at the high leadership levels they currently occupy.
He said, “Let me say that every generation of leadership must understand context. Law itself must be interpreted and implemented in context.
“What is the reality of the context that we operate in today? We all know, our nation has millions of extremely poor people, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened employment and poverty.
“We have huge deficits in infrastructure, many children are out of school. If that is our context, we will be callous and irresponsible if we don’t come together, work together to sort out these grave life-threatening problems our people have to confront every day.”
Osinbajo told the gathering that it was time for leaders to focus on what they were elected to do.
He added, “It is time to focus on what we have been elected or appointed to do. This is the welfare of our people. The law and practice as between parliament and executive is a means to an end not an end to itself. The means must not jeopardise the end.
“Our people just want food on their table, shelter over their heads, clothing on their bodies, healthcare and education for their children and themselves.
“So, the good legislature or good minister is not the one who is waving the law, and procedure, and doctrines, it is the one who says the spirit of our Constitution is that we secure the maximum welfare, freedom, and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.
“The good legislator or minister is the one who will do all in his or her power to serve the needs of our people, even if it means walking the fine lines, as Hon Wudil said between the law and reality.”
In a communique issued at the end of the retreat, participants resolved that there should be a concrete understanding and working knowledge of both the Executive and Legislature.
They resolved that an effective confidence-building measure should be put in place in the governance process to ensure mutual respect and cordial relationship between the executive and legislature.
They also called for the creation of effective conflict management and resolution mechanism in resolving areas of disagreement between the executive and legislature in the overall national interest.