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We would be callous, irresponsible if we fail — Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said it would be “callous and irresponsible” if elected and appointed officials in the executive and legislative arms of…

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said it would be “callous and irresponsible” if elected and appointed officials in the executive and legislative arms of government failed to work together to sort out what he called the “life threatening problems” facing Nigerians on daily basis.

Osinbajo said this while declaring close a two-day Joint Executive – Legislative Leadership Retreat held at State House Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Vice President said the two arms of government had no choice but to collaborate in order not to fail the Nigerian people who gave them the opportunity amongst millions to serve at the high leadership levels.

He said: “The fact that we have all been here for two working days demonstrates our common commitment to collaboration. Frankly, we have no choice if we are not to fail the Nigerian people who have given us this incredible opportunity amongst millions of our compatriots to serve at this high leadership levels we occupy today.

“As Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha said earlier, this is all about Nigeria and Nigerians. This is the context for our operations. 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 everyday.”

Osinbajo, who said there is no pure practice of the doctrine of separation of powers, added that “the dogmatic emphasis on procedural niceties is a luxury we cannot afford”.

He said countries like the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) that have the most advanced jurisprudence on separation of powers were wise enough to provide for a concrete bridge between the executive and the legislature.

He said these countries that Nigeria looked up to, recognized that any strict separation of powers would impede development and governance and shortchange the people.

“So, my brothers and sisters ….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 jeopardize the end.

“Our people just want food on their table, shelter over their heads, clothing on their bodies, healthcare and education for their children & 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 and 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,” he added.

The Vice President said the real usefulness of the dialogue would emanate from the suggestions of President Muhammadu Buhari on the constitution of technical committees of the executive and legislature who now make the well-reasoned recommendations that must be implemented.

“Mr. President has already committed to implementation and I trust that the leadership of the National Assembly will do the same,” he added.

He thanked senators and members of the National Assembly, members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and heads of agencies and parastatals for the time spent at the joint executive and legislative leadership retreat.