VP’s Remarks At The 5th Anniversary Of Airtel’s Touching Lives Initiative
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, THE VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE AIRTEL TOUCHING LIVES PROJECT, HELD AT EKO HOTELS AND SUITES, LAGOS ON SATURDAY 25TH JANUARY, 2019
What an excellent evening this has been! Truly what separates humankind from all other creatures is the capacity for creating opportunities for others, the capacity for kindness, for bringing people out of despair and offering hope.
This is why when, as we have seen this evening, wonderful acts of giving and caring are shown, we all feel ennobled as human beings. So, I would like to thank Segun and his team at Airtel for touching so many lives, and for doing so without fanfare.
Listening to Each story of a life touched this evening must remind us of the many others who need our help, our comfort and our kindness. The poor and vulnerable always need a voice.
In 2014, Mr Wale Edun, who is here; Prof. Pat Utomi, who is also here; and I, met at Pat’s home to write portions of the manifesto of the APC.
We all agreed that a fundamental pillar of our party’s plans must be to create a social safety net for the people. We were convinced that the government owed a duty to the poor, the weak the vulnerable and those who cannot work.
Social safety nets are not merely acts of sovereign kindness, they are a sovereign obligation – a responsibility.
Today, the social safety net scheme is the fore of our Social Investment Programmes where we are feeding about 9.5 million children in public schools in 34 states across Nigeria; we are giving monthly cash to about nearly a million households as part of our conditional cash transfer scheme; we have given, as at the last count, 2.2 million loans to petty traders whose inventories are no more than N5, 000.
We have also engaged about 500, 000 young men and women, who have been unemployed over different periods of time, under our N-Power programme. But we are still very far from touching the majority of those who need help.
It is clear that to do so, we need far more resources behind that programme. This is why the work of socially conscious companies like Airtel is so vital. Bridging the huge gap between what the government can do and what is left to be done.
So, as you celebrate the 5th year of this great work, we congratulate you and pray for all members of the Airtel team and their families: that as you have shown such great kindness to so many, you also will always find help and kindness.
God bless you.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
God bless the Federal Republic of Ghana.