By Rose Oranye
The Special Adviser to Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo on Political Matters, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu has dismissed as nonsensical the reports in some online outlets that the bags of rice sent to Anambra State as palliatives by the Federal Government are being re-bagged.
He pointedly stressed that the Federal Government sent N2 billion for the procurement of palliatives which of course raises the question: How can the state government re-bag rice that was not sent in the first instance in bags?
According to Dr. Obiogbolu, “when people throw tantrums at you, it’s not every tantrum that you respond to.”
The Special Adviser further states: “If we start answering that it was not re-bagged, who will believe you when there’s already the picture of the governor on the bag of rice. There’s a way to answer a stupid man’s question.”
He continues thusly: “We said that N2 billion was provided for the procurement of rice and they used the opportunity to talk about what the Governor is doing and how he’s doing it. There was no bag of rice brought. What they brought was N2 billion for you to procure rice. The opposition is just playing to the gallery by talking that there is re-bagging of the rice.”
Dr. Obiogbolu explained that the Anambra State Government got N2 billion from the Federal Government of which 48 percent is a loan.
In the words of Dr. Obiogbolu, “Governor Soludo has insisted that the rice must go to the vulnerable, that it is not meant for political parties. Every state government was asked to procure rice at the tune of N2 billion. In that N2 billion, 48 percent should be repaid by the state. So, it’s a loan which the Federal Government brought 52 percent as their own portion. So if they brought 52 percent and Anambra brought 48 percent, will the author say it’s Federal Government Palliative?”
Dr. Obiogbolu insisted that all the sections of the society are being carried along in the ongoing distribution of the petroleum subsidy removal palliatives.
Dr. Obiogbolu, who was reacting to a statement by the vice chairman, Anambra South Senatorial District of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said that it was the first time in the history of the state that the welfare of the vulnerable persons are being vigorously pursued.
The Special Adviser stated: “I wish to remind the APC Anambra State that these bags of rice are not intended to be shared along political lines but rather to alleviate the suffering in our society by targeting the most vulnerable”.
Dr. Obiogbolu stated that all the Chairmen of the Local Government Chapters of the 18 political parties are members of the Local Government Supervisory Committees which include representatives of President-Generals of Communities and Traditional Rulers at the Local Government, and their functions are to supervise and ensure that they get to the vulnerable.
“At the wards, only village chairpersons and the Clergy constitute the ward Distribution Committees with the Ward Councilor as Team Lead”, Obiogbolu said, adding: “It is interesting that the vice chairman of APC in Anambra South Senatorial District wants to be involved in the distribution of the palliatives at his local government area”,
“Governor Soludo has continuously insisted on the palliatives getting to the vulnerable persons in society irrespective of political party affiliations. He once again demonstrated his love for the neglected persons when he recently visited Olumbanasa community in Anambra West LGA, a feat never achieved by any of his predecessors.”
Dr. Obiogbolu made this final revelatory submission: “Despite the N2 billion naira provided by the Federal government for procurement of rice of which 48 percent is a loan to every state, Governor Soludo has provided additional palliatives that are in excess of N5 billion. These include the payment of 12,000 naira for four months to all state government workers and pensioners, the provision of total free education for primary and junior secondary schools in the state, support grant to mission schools in the state, and provision of free antenatal services and free delivery of babies”.
Rose Oranye is of the Ministry of Information, Anambra State