…APC kicks, says panel is purely political
Governor Sim Fubara of Rivers State has confirmed receipt of N2bn palliative and 16,800 bags of rice, but seems to run into storm by the composition of the committee he set up to disburse them.
The opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state has accused the governor of political bias by making the panel purely a political party affair: the state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the committee, all the local council chairmen who have been the PDP’s enforcers per local council area are the members with all the commissioners who are also party faithful.
The governor on Thursday confirmed Rivers State Government’s receipt of N2billion and 16,800 bags of rice as part of the palliatives to help the poorest of the poor deal with the biting effect of the fuel subsidy removal.
The governor, who disclosed this while inaugurating the state’s palliatives sharing committee explained that the N2bn came from the Federal Government and the rice was put together and shared among states by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Governor Fubara explained, “The country is at crossroads because of the removal of subsidy which has brought much hardship in the lives and businesses of virtually everyone.
“For that reason, states, the federal government and other well-meaning individuals are providing succour under the circumstance. In that order, the NGF in their bid to alleviate the situation, decided to distribute to each state, about 16,800 bags of rice.”
“We are also in receipt of N2Billion, which is part of the relief measure. It is not just about sharing money, but applying it to something that will touch the lives of those that are in dire need, those going through much pressure at this particular moment. We will come up with a decision very soon, and we will give your (Committee) directive on what to do when the time comes.
On modalities for fair sharing of the rice, Fubara charged thus, “The rice is not about party, it is about the state. We thought it wise and proper to bring in all the Local Government (LG) chairmen, since you represent your respective areas. You are not the LG chairman of the PDP, but the LG Chairman of your entire LGA.”
“I won’t tell you what to do, but I think it should be a communal formula. My major charge to you is to ensure that in the course of discharging this duty, don’t tag it party. Though it may not solve the entire problem, but it will touch those who really need this support.”
On Desmond Akawor, Chairman, Rivers PDP chairing the Palliative Distribution Committee, the governor explained, “It is not because he is PDP chairman, but because he is quite knowledgeable in handling these kinds of assignments and he does them very well. I have also taken the time to bring members of the EXCO in on this team.
“This is a call to service. Take it as a very serious assignment, as whatever you are doing will definitely rub off on us as a government.
In his response, Akawor noted, “We know we are going through excruciating pains at this point in time in the history of this country. For us to have been given this assignment, we consider it very solemn.
“For our state , we have already been doing this through various channels to alleviate the sufferings of our people.
We give you one assurance; we will not disappoint you.”