Engaging With People Should Be Politicians’ Major Concern – Osinbajo


Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says elected leaders should regularly aspire to meet with the electorate.

His spokesman, Laolu Akande, quoted the vice-president as saying this on Thursday in Abuja when he received the outgoing UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, in audience.

Akande also quoted Osinbajo as saying that constant engagement with the electorate on justice, peace, security, and social contract could not be allowed to fall through the cracks as they are critical issues.

“You cannot avoid engaging with the people; there is need to engage in a way that you are trusted. People should see that you are committed enough about their concerns.

“People must feel that government is committed to their welfare, security and especially on issues of healthcare and education of their children.

“So, a social compact is crucial.

“As a matter of fact, it is both a current concern and aspiration for those of us who have been fortunate to be elected into positions in government and in the politics of our country,’’ he said.

Osinbajo also commended the support of development partners, particularly under the auspices of the UN system, coordinated by Kallon over the years.

“We certainly enjoyed the work that you did as UN Resident Coordinator for Nigeria for the past few years.

“Practically, on every occasion where we have had to look at serious issues, you have been available which I think is very important.

“We found that you were very hands-on; you were everywhere; you attended major meetings that we have had and you were all over the country.

“Your being available and ready to engage is really commendable and very helpful for us as a government.

“It also gave you a clear insight to what the issues are and it made your presentations to the UN system clearer and more nuanced,’’ Osinbajo told Kallon.

Earlier, Kallon had told the vice-president the importance of a social contract between the people and their governments.

He recounted his experiences in his more than five years stay in Nigeria, and observed that maintaining peace and security was crucial.

Kallon thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and Osinbajo for the support he enjoyed during his tenure as Coordinator of the UN in Nigeria, especially in addressing some of the concerns around humanitarian assistance.

He applauded Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, dubbing it a miracle, and commended the vice-president’s personal commitment and leadership of the economic recovery initiative.

Kallon said Nigeria’s efforts remained a model as to how a well-coordinated national response could deliver positive results.

He urged government to explore opportunities within the country as well as creatively manage the risks therein.

“I am really impressed with your leadership in addressing the impact of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

“While the government continues exploring the vast opportunities in this country, it is also critical that this great nation manages its risks in a sustainable way to ensure peace, security, and stability,’’ Kallon added. (NAN)