The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), on Wednesday said some past polices and planning, including budgeting of government did not reflect the needs and the conditions of the majority of the citizenry.
Speaking at a courtesy visit by members of the Alumni Association of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS), at the State House, Abuja, Osinbajo noted that the people had become disempowered in the process.
According to the vice president, the important thing now is how policies can address the needs of the people, saying “this is the main challenge’’.
"Governments have not been accountable to the people, otherwise policies should have roots in the real conditions of the people."
He observed that in the past there had been “policies that do not seem to have solutions that truly reflect the understanding of the question of poverty in Nigeria.”
He, therefore, challenged the notion that a country could be described as rich when about two-thirds of "its people are extremely poor’’.
While expressing concern about extreme poverty in the country, Osinbajo said that records had shown that "we have 110 million poor people, representing two-third of the Nigerian population.’’
He expressed regret that the economic and social policies were reflection of the level of illiteracy in parts of the country.
"Some are extremely bad and some with cases of about 80 per cent or 90 per cent of children out of school, and other cases of unimaginable decayed infrastructure.”
Osinbajo said that one of the challenges of policy formulation was how to speak to the people and how to address their plights.
According to him, "the people are concerned about how do I get a meal, how do I get healthcare and how to send children to school.”
He said that budgets had often failed to address the needs of the people.
The vice president then challenged members of the Alumni Association to discuss how policy formulation ought to have root in the conditions of the people.
“I want the institute to think about this," the VP said.
Osinbajo welcomed the idea of a Policy Roundtable proposed to him by members of the association, noting that what had been lacking in government was a time to think, reflect and consider policy while still working at a fast pace.
The policy roundtable is intended to provide an interface between policy experts and makers on a governmental platform on how to address the needs and improve the living conditions of the citizens.
Earlier, the President of the Alumni Association, retired Maj.-Gen. Lawrence Onoja, expressed appreciation for President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to fight corruption and reposition the economy.
He pledged the support of the association for the actualisation of what he called the Three-Point Agenda – Security, Corruption and Economy of the Buhari administration.
Onoja urged the administration to not only conduct a forensic audit of the government agencies but also jail all those found guilty of looting the country and seize their assets.