Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that he is currently not concerned about the 2019 election, stating that his mind is currently preoccupied with how to deliver on the job he and President Muhammadu Buhari were elected to do in 2015.
Osinbajo said this during a media chat he had on the last day of his participation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The interview’s transcript was made available to newsmen by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande.
When asked if he intended to run with Buhari at the 2019 presidential poll, Osinbajo said, “I’m absolutely focused at this time on doing the job that we have been elected to do. That is my concern for now”.
When asked if the Federal Government had been in contact with the Niger Delta Avengers over its threat to resume attacks on oil facilities, Osinbajo said the government was in constant consultations with all the groups in the region.
He emphasised that the government was busy addressing all the issues that it agreed with the Pan Niger Delta Forum.
“We are engaged with the groups; we have opened the Maritime University. We are working hard on the modular refineries, which we hope will be a replacement for some of the illegal refineries and also create opportunities in the Niger Delta.
“We are in constant consultations. There are many groups in the Niger Delta, including the Niger Delta Avengers, and we are in constant consultations”.
The Vice President maintained that the country was doing better than ever before as far as the economy was concerned.
This, he said, was happening despite the security challenges in the country.
His words, “If you look at the difference between Q1 of 2017 and now, there is a lift from $908m to $4.1bn. There is no deterrent.
“I think that global investors understand that there are security challenges everywhere and that so long as you are able to provide enough grounds for people to believe that, by and large, there is safety.
“Look at what is going on elsewhere in the world, security is a challenge everywhere. The duty of the government is to ensure that security is maintained as robustly as possible.
“Sometimes, by the very nature of security concerns, if something is happening in the Delta or up North somewhere, it really does provide a challenge for security agencies, but it is an opportunity to beef up security.
“We are recruiting policemen, we are even trying to build up the army and recruit more people into the army. For instance, if you look at what happened during the clashes in Southern Kaduna, we had to locate a military formation there.
“We may have to do that in several other places, locating military formations where we find communal violence. Security is dynamic; you have to keep working at it.”
Osinbajo argued that Nigeria’s economy was in a better state than it was two or four years ago.
He put the nation’s reserves at $40bn, describing it as the highest in four years.
The Vice President said the nation’s capital market was set to be the best performing in the world.
He, however, admitted that “the man on the streets must feel the impact, which sometimes takes a while because when you are talking about growth, there must be jobs, but growth doesn’t immediately translate to jobs.”
Osinbajo said the government was trying to establish a system of governance that emphasised prudence in financial spending.
He said that was what informed the Treasury Single Account, TSA, adding that the government would employ 300,000 people this year.