VP Osinbajo Tasks Political Elite On Economic Well Being Of Citizens.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that political elite in Nigeria have a duty in the interest of the economic well being of citizens to ensure that elections and electoral dispute resolution processes are free fair and credible.


Prof. Osinbajo, who spoke in Abuja at the 14th Edition of the Leaders Annual Conference and Awards, said it was the least the elite could offer their nations and the continent.


Prof. Osinbajo urged the elite to support the primary objective of government, reminding them of the enormous challenge they face in providing 90 million of Nigeria’s over 200 million people education, jobs and healthcare.


“Democracy, the rule of law, and the election of our governments by free and fair elections are crucial because they are meant to support the primary objective of enabling citizens to live well and have access to well paying jobs, opportunities, and services. Or in a broad sense to support the growth and stability of the economy of the nation.


“It is evident then that we must carefully curate these safeguards for the well being of our citizens to ensure that they do not negatively affect the very well being that they are meant to protect, namely the economy.


“And this is a delicate task indeed because in every election cycle, the first casualty is the economy, there is a reluctance to invest, and consumers are careful not to spend their savings or be bullish in the stock market sometimes because of the fear of electoral disturbances that might spiral out of control and make business and commerce impossible.” Osinbajo said.


Vice President Osinbajo pointed out that prospects for disruption of the economy were even greater where elections produce governments that are not credible.


“Legitimacy of governments as conferred by the freely given mandate of the electorate is a major consideration for savvy, substantial local or foreign investors.


“Capital, they say, is a great coward, running away from the slightest sign of trouble.


“Besides, recent electoral history in Nigeria has too many examples of electoral violence following electoral outcomes that are widely disputed. This of course usually means destruction of public and private property, and infrastructure aside from the waste of man hours while the unrest lasts and in its immediate aftermath.” Osinbajo added.


He said another test of the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral contests is the integrity of the umpire and the electoral courts .


“Where the umpire is perceived as unfair there is potential for trouble. Where the courts are perceived as arbitrary, whimsical or acting in contradiction to established precedents, there is an almost commensurate loss of confidence by the electorate.” Osinbajo further said.


Fair elections


Former Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga, who delivered the keynote address at the event, said critical development in Africa cannot succeed without a legitimate and democratically elected government that is responsible and responsive to its citizens.


“Free and fair elections are indicators to investors that there is a government in place that believes in fairness and the rule of law.


“When a government comes in through a fair ballot, investors get the assuredness that their property will be respected, taxation will be fair and rules will be simple and clear and they will not have to resort to corruption and bribery to set up their business.” Odinga said.


In her opening remarks, Mrs Nda-Isaiah, said that the 14th edition of the award was special for some reasons, among which was the presence of the vice president who had graced the event three times.



Source: Voice of Nigeria