Yemi Osibanjo, the Vice President of Nigeria stressed social justice and transparency in any government institution in a situation where they are not strong enough to compel individual behaviour that advances the common good.
Osibanjo said this during an interactive session with the students at Harvard Business School who visited him on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja
“Just looking at these values, there is a great deal of unanimity about what is the right thing to do. The question is whether or not you will do those things, whether you are motivated enough to do them, or whether you are compelled to do them.
“Spirituality helps in that sense to help you to decide what to do and what not to do. Especially where institutions are not strong enough to restrain people from behaving in a particular way or not.” Osibanjo said.
The VP articulated his commitment to the virtues of integrity, transparency and social justice which are also virtues exhorted in the different faiths and religions in the country.
“For me, spirituality connotes values. I came into government with values about what I think is important, especially around transparency, social justice and justice, among others. You are almost always a product of the values you believe in. Fortunately, a lot of these values cut across different faiths, they are not necessarily restricted to religion or one faith.
“In societies that are more developed institutionally, you don’t need to be told that you shouldn’t do certain things because you could end up in jail if you do and there is a good likelihood that you could be detected and the process will go through and you will be punished.
“I speak about corruption and all that. But where the institutions are weak, some people have reasons for not doing the right thing,” Prof. Osinbajo submitted.
The Vice President also spoke about the economy, the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme, politics, leadership, education, and energy transition, among others.
Responding to the question about some inaccurate characterization of Nigeria in sections of the international community, the Vice President said “it is important to constantly engage the international community to show them how we feel about the stereotypes. It comes down to the work we do as government and people about the characterization.
“This is why some of the work around the Ease of Doing Business etc. are all initiatives that have behind them, the whole idea that this environment is welcoming to business and people can come and do business.”
Talking about creativity in governance, the Vice President said “my view is that there needs to be more innovation in governance and policy. You get that kind of innovation in business. People are disrupting business by day but there is very little disruption going on in government. I think there is a need for much more thinking in government.”
He also spoke about education, educating people and wealth creation, and providing resources so that more people can move up.
“A lot of that is tied to education, that is something that interests me the most. Just using an example of something we did in the Northeast.”