Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has declared that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) remains the only party anchored on social democracy, social protection and social mobility, especially for the poor.
The Vice President stated this on Monday at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja, while inaugurating the APC Legal Compliance Committee, with responsibility for more than 1,400 Federal and States elective positions in polls holding on February 25 and March 11, 2023 respectively.
The event was witnessed by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami; the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Mr Festus Keyamo, and the APC National Legal Adviser who is Coordinator of the Committee, Mr Ahmad El-Marzuq.
According to Osinbajo: “Ours is the only party anchored on social democracy, social protection, that is, social mobility for the poor, and justice for the wronged”.
He noted that the Committee was crucial to the achievement of the party’s electoral ambitions in the 2023 Elections both at Federal and State levels across the country.
While inaugurating the Committee, the Vice President urged its members to be proactive and remain committed to this critical assignment.
“I am therefore glad that we have here an assembly of very committed members of the party, who, by their calling as lawyers, will be able to offer tremendous value for the party through protection of its interests at every step of this electoral process,” he observed.
Osinbajo said, “those of you that have worked with us in the build-up to the 2015 and the 2019 general elections know that the proactive approach we adopted, especially through the ear-on-the-ground work of the Presidential Legal Team, has provided us crucial head-start in tackling some of the challenges that we were confronted with.
He added that the party’s manifesto in 2014, 2015 and 2023 contained the most detailed Social Investment Policy.
According to him: “In 2015 we became the first government to make budgetary provision of N500 billion for a comprehensive Social Investment Programme; feeding 9.5 million children in our Home-grown School Feeding Programme, providing jobs for 500,000 unemployed graduates through our N-Power programme, many deployed to primary schools in the hinterland as teachers, others trained under the N-TECH, N-BUILD. Our GEEP programme provided 2 million informal traders with small loans via its TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni schemes.
“We also built up the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme. Along with the World Bank and local Communities we complied a register of the poorest Nigerians and began a programme of giving them a total of about N20,000 monthly per household and introduced livelihood support. Our opponents criticized us, for providing money for the poor to do their business, we say to them that is who we are a party committed to lifting the poor out of poverty, but we are also accountable.
“Every person given a loan is properly documented on our electronic perform. They were given money by alerts on their phones so all loans are trackable and the entire process is auditable”.
The Vice President also recalled that the GEEP microcredit programmes, managed by the Bank of Industry (BOI), won several awards including the African Bankers Award twice, as well as getting, other global recognitions.
Noting that the party remained committed to progressive left-of-the-centre ideology, Osinbajo stated that despite global economic challenges, the APC administration under President Buhari has achieved much in the pursuit of this vision.
According to him, “these are achievements known to even our detractors, though they admit so only behind closed doors. Knowing where we were in 2014, and the challenges we were able to overcome, and knowing the very likely danger of reversal of all that has been achieved by the Buhari administration, our Governors in States, and our legislators at national and State levels, we cannot afford to be nonchalant. Rather, we have to be proactive.”
He also disclosed that the responsibilities of the APC Legal Compliance Committee include ensuring that all internal structures of the party and external engagements of the party are conducted in accord with established operating procedures and the law; insulating the campaign of the party at all levels against breaches of rules, regulations, guidelines, and laws by ensuring strict compliance thereof; and to develop compliance checklists and protocols, conduct trainings for campaign personnel, and prepare compliance reports for the party, among others.
Earlier in his remarks, the spokesperson of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and Minister of State, Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo, while thanking the Vice President for his commitment to the service of the party and nation, underscored the importance of the Legal Compliance Committee particularly in the forthcoming elections across the country.
He noted that the task before the committee was huge but expressed confidence that given the support of the Vice President and other stakeholders, it will succeed in delivering on its mandate before, during and after the general elections.
Also speaking, the Coordinator of the Committee, Mr El-Marzuq, said the group composed of carefully selected lawyers tasked with the provision of comprehensive legal services to the party during the electioneering period, noting their preparedness to serve in the different capacities assigned to them.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja