*Says transparency is hallmark of Buhari’s govt
09 February 2016, Abuja –- Acting president, Professor Yemi Osinabjo has accused the previous governments of managing the country’s vast resources without transparency and accountability. According to him, lack of transparency was responsible for Nigeria’s economic backwardness and underdevelopment. Osinabjo who spoke while hosting a delegation of the global body-Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, in his office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja remarked that a critical pillar of the President Mohammadu Buhari’s presidency was transparency, even as he pledged transparency in the extractive industry.
“It is important for us that we handle our resources with transparency and good governance. “One of the objectives that we have set for ourselves is to ensure that we are transparent and able to handle our resources well.
Of we (as a nation) had handled our resources better, with transparency, and good governance, we would not find ourselves were we are now”, he said.
While acknowledging that “we have learnt our lesson,” the Acting president declared that from now henceforth, the government would work transparently and generate more revenues.
He stated that as a government, the Buhari administration has determined to work with the Nigeria Extractive Industry and Transparency Initiative (NEITI) “to ensure good governance and look at how we can generate revenues and keep proper accounts.”
Speaking on the issue of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Osinbajo assured that government was working with the National Assembly to get the PIB passed into law, stating “we want to see what will come out of the bill because this will give some regulatory direction and we are working very closely to get that done.”
A statement by his spokesperson, Mr. Laolu Akande stated the meeting attracted the Minister of State for Budget & Planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and the former Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI.
Others included the Acting Executive Secretary of the NEITI, Mr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji and the Deputy Head of the EITI global, Mr. Eddie Rich. Earlier, the in-coming global Chairman of EITI, Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt, a former Prime Minister of Sweden commended Nigeria’s committed to the EITI process, saying he has been following the restructuring of the NNPC, and other developments in the oil sector.
In a similar development, the Acting President also received delegations from Nigeria Leadership Initiative, NLI class of 2015 and the Nigerian Institute of Legislative Studies, NILS led by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Okey Enelamah and Central Bank Deputy Governor, Mrs Sarah Alade.
He told the delegation from the NLI that considering the extent of effort required to address the socio-economic impact of the insurgency in the Northeast, Nigerians with the required capacity should partner with different agencies of government to rehabilitate and rebuild the area.
“It would be useful to work with the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative to achieve some of its objectives,” he said. While commending the class for its work, he said the group should go further and play a more active role beyond making a documentary submission. Observing the sheer scale of what has gone wrong, Osinbajo stated that there was quite a lot to be done and lots of effort were underway.
The leader of the delegation, Dr. Okey Enelamah informed the Vice President about the proposed documentary project of the group, which focused on the humanitarian crisis in the North East is a collective issue rather than government concern alone.
Acting President Osinbajo expressed government readiness to support the work of the Institute, stating that the Institute played a prominent role in the legislative arm of government.
In his remarks, the leader of the delegation, the Senate Committee Chairman on Water Resources and also a member of the Governing Council of NILS, Senator Muhammad Ubali Shitu, expressed their support for the change agenda of the Buhari’s Administration and hailed Osinabjo’s pledge to support the Institute.
*Levinus Nwabughiogu – Vanguard