Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President has urged Nigeria’s policy elites to raise their voices loud enough in matters that seriously concern the nation, especially regarding issues of national unity.
He noted that while politicians will be in office for a time, the policy and intellectual elites would always be around and should not leave public discourse to politicians.
He said, “I think that this question of national unity is one that we must look at very carefully and must proffer ideas and solutions to issues.”
The Vice President, who is also the Chairman of the NIPSS Governing Council, was emphatic on the need for the contributions of the nation’s policy elites to raging debates and on issues of national development.
He said, “Even if we are not in government, we as intellectual elites, are supposed to ensure that, in terms of direction, we are heard. It is up to us to advise and to be as vocal as possible, and we have so many channels to give advice.”
Speaking further, Osinbajo stated that, “If you look at the quality of debates or sometimes the acrimony with which debates on national unity are proffered, you will find that unless something is done, a time will come when it will be impossible to have any kind of decent debate and those who are extremists, will take over the public space because those who have a stake in ensuring that the country is united are not saying anything.
“So, I think it is very important that we (as policy elites) develop a position. Because there is no question at all that if we keep quiet and nothing is said, space will be taken over by those who have not had the chance of seriously considering the issues.”
Osinbajo also spoke about efforts made by the Buhari administration to address poverty, insecurity and other issues confronting Nigerians.
He said a lot of the initiatives undertaken by the present administration especially under the Social Investment Programmes comprising the school feeding, the cash transfers, and others, are all geared towards addressing the issue of poverty in the country.