The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said although the current administration is making progress, it is slow.
He attributed the slow nature of the government’s progress to what he called “damages of the past.”
According to a statement from his media office, Osinbajo spoke when he paid an unscheduled visit to the Mpape artisans’ village, located near the Maitama district of Abuja.
The Vice-President, who was accompanied by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammad, cited the vandalism in the Niger Delta as one of the problems facing the country.
He said, “We are progressing but it is slow and the reason why it is slow is because there have been a lot of damages in the past.
“For instance, look at what is happening in the Niger Delta; that is where we get most of the money.
“But when the boys in the Niger Delta decided to be blowing up the pipelines, oil production dropped from the two million barrels per day to one million per day and we lost 60 per cent of what we used to earn from oil, that is partly responsible for the problem that you see today.’’
Osinbajo encouraged the artisans not to despair as government was focused on addressing key sectors that would improve the economy and create jobs for them and other Nigerians.
“We are trying to deal with the problem in the Niger Delta, address farming, industry and the economy so that this problem you are talking about will be fixed permanently,” he said.
Osinbajo, however, told the artisans to work harder as there was no quick fix to the problems confronting the economy, saying “there is no country that can make progress without some pains.”
He assured them that the present administration was addressing the issues on all fronts with the fight against corruption, stressing that “if you don’t fight corruption, the money which we are trying to get, some persons will pocket it and that is all and there won’t be anything.’’
The Vice-President solicited for the support and cooperation of the artisans and other categories of Nigerians to help revamp the economy for the progress of the nation, assuring them that the hardship currently experienced by Nigerians would soon be a thing of the past.
Earlier, the artisans led by the chairman of the Mpape Artisans Association, Mr. Obafemi Adeleye, had expressed delight at the presence of the Vice-President at the artisans’ village.
He said the artisans, who had never hosted a high-profile guest at the village, wanted the Vice-President to support them in securing a permanent location for the Mpape Artisans Village, assuring him of their support for the administration’s policy on small businesses.
“We have been trying to get land for our mechanic village through our cooperative union but we have not been able to get one.
“We are suffering and have lost so much in the past years because we do not have a permanent place to do business.
“We are very happy to see that big people like you are visiting places that many Nigerian politicians have never visited, we are very grateful for your visit today.
“We are begging government to support us to get our permanent site, we are ready to pay our dues to get the land, we have visited the FCDA but we have not been successful so far,” he said.