By Tony Okafor, Awka
The South East All Progressives Congress Young Progressives Forum, Anambra State Chapter, has asked the Anambra State governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, to account for the Federal Government’s subsidy palliatives consigned to the state.
In a statement co-signed by the National Convener, Paschal Candle and others,decried that everything about the FG’s palliative was being done in secret.
The group’s statement reads:
The South East APC Young Progressives Forum, Anambra State Chapter wishes to thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima who is the Chairman of the National Economic Council for their relentless efforts to fashion out ways to ameliorate the negative effects of the removal of fuel subsidy on the cost of living of the people of Nigeria.
Specifically, We thank President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the release of 5 trucks of rice each to all the States of the Federation and the FCT as well as the approval of N5 billion to each state of the federation and the FCT for them to use to the fund to procure additional grains and fertiliser to further cushion the impact of the fuel subsidy removal on the prices and availability of staple food across the country.
We are all aware from the National Executive Council meeting held on Thursday, the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum told Nigerians that the Federal government had already released 5 trucks of rice to all States last week and that the N5 billion was approved by Mr. President for disbursement to the States to enable each of the States to procure additional 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertiliser to be distributed to the most vulnerable across their various states.
Gentlemen of the Press, without this revelation from Prof Zulum, Ndi Anambra are not aware of such gestures coming into the State. Everything is done in secrecy. People are not being carried along. We are wondering why the state government, after receiving the items, refused to announce to the people of Anambra State that it has taken possession of the FG’s palliatives and the cash. We believe that this is a deliberate act by APGA led Government in Anambra State to continue to paint APC in Anambra State in a bad light.
We cannot fathom the reason why Governor Soludo is finding it difficult to announce the arrival of the federal government palliatives to the state and also why it has been pretty difficult to distribute same or constitute a committee that will take charge of the distribution. Is Governor Soludo waiting for the people of the state to die of hunger before he deems it fit to make the palliatives available to serve its purpose at the right time?
We are therefore calling on the Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo who was present at the NEC meeting and at the press briefing thereafter to as a matter of urgency inform the people of Anambra State about the status of the 5 trucks of rice that was released by the federal government to Anambra State for distribution to vulnerable households. This is for the sake of transparency and accountability.
All genuine stakeholders in the Anambra State project should plead with Governor Soludo to release the rice palliatives sent to the state by the Federal Government for these items to get to the needy on time as the purpose for sending it down is not to be locked up in a hidden warehouse in the state, as they did before during Covid-19 era.
The diversion of the rice palliatives by the state government as it is being touted by some concerned discerning minds in the state would have a debilitating effect on the image of the reigning state government. Again, if the news spreading like a wild fire across the state that Governor Soludo is trying to play a fast one on the palliatives from Abuja by sharing it to all APGA Members or supporters of APGA or to allow only Ndi APGA to be in charge as they did during Governor Obiano era is anything to go by, it shall be resisted by all legal means.
We have credible information that the State Government is planning to write SOLUTION IS HERE on those Palliatives. This game plan will fail. Because they are trying to deceive Ndi Anambra into believing he is the one providing those palliatives when in actual fact, it is President Bola Tinubu and APC programme. Governor Soludo should not write SOLUTION IS HERE on those Palliatives nor APGA Logo.
Governor Soludo should look for where to write his Slogan of No impact. Civil servants in Anambra State salaries are nothing to write home about in this current economic hardship. He should go and write solution is here in their lives not on the palliatives he didn’t pay for.
We believe unless otherwise given reason to believe to the contrary that the 5 trucks of rice has not been shared to Anambrarians and to that effect we demand for the following:
- That Anambra government set up a Steering Committee to supervise the judicious distribution of the already released 5 trucks of rice to vulnerable people across the 21 Local Government Area of Anambra State.
- For the sake of balance, the Steering Committee should be composed of representatives of Town Unions/traditional rulers, the clergy and the major political parties in Anambra State. This is to ensure that the bags of rice are shared only to the most vulnerable across the entire communities in Anambra State and not as a means of settling supporters of APGA chieftains who have been relegated to the background as has been the case before now with other federal interventions. We all know how they did Trademoni, school feeding program in the state.
- The Steering Committee will transparently state the quantities of rice distributed to each benefiting community and the method of collation of vulnerable people in those communities. The town Union PGs, Wimen PGs and Youth Leaders and Traditional Rulers should be actively be involved.
ON THE 5 BILLION GIVEN TO ANAMBRA STATE:
On the newly approved N5 billion meant for the procurement of additional 100,000 bags of rice and 40,000 bags of maize and fertiliser, we request the following:
- The same steering committee that was set up for the distribution of the already released 5 trucks of rice be saddled with the responsibility of distributing these additional bags of rice, maize and fertilisers to ensure those who benefitted initially are not included in the second part so as to make way for other vulnerable people benefit.
- The N5 billion must be used to purchase these items that was agreed by NEC in their meeting. We insist that the government of Anambra State must not divert a single kobo to other ventures no matter how good it may be. The N5 billion is meant to be used for immediate food palliatives and must be used for such.
On the third issue raised by NEC that revolves around the creation of an accurate social register from the states that will be used for the disbursement of the $800 million World Bank loan cash transfer to the most vulnerable in the society, the Anambra State Chapter of the South East APC Young Progressives Forum calls on President Bola Tinubu to set up State Steering Committee for each State. These committee that will come from Abuja will be in charge of the register. On the part of Gov. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, he should set up another implementation Committee that will be representative of all important stakeholders such as traditional rulers, political parties representatives, the three major religious denominations in the state as well as the World Bank representatives who will work hand in hand with the team from Abuja in order to give Ndi Anambra a transparent register.
This we believe will help make the social register to be compiled to pass the basic test of credibility. The register must be devoid of partisan patronage. We wish to remind the governor that these are programmes meant for all Anambrarians and it is an APC Led Federal Government initiative and not for only one political party or denomination. We therefore call on the governor to emulate the method of the APC-led federal government that always strives to incorporate all political parties and interests in its programme instead of using national programmes to settle only its members.
We shall monitor every aspect of the distribution of these palliatives very closely and we will also follow the processes leading to the creation of a social register for vulnerable people in Anambra State to ensure it is credible and not populated only by members of the APGA or cronies of the state government. This we promise Ndi Anambra. Any sharp practices we notice in the course of these activities will be taken up and escalated to the highest level possible for appropriate actions.
We therefore appeal to our people to remain patient as we navigate this difficult phase of our national rebirth.