COVID-19 Palliatives: APC demands accountability on donations
1. Aftermath of the #EndSARS protest has left a jigsaw puzzle in Akwa Ibom state. The delay by Udom’s government to account for palliatives and monetary contributions has become even more worrisome than even the COVID19 pandemic itself.
While Governor Udom Emmanuel choses to live in denial, the people particularly the younger age group whose recent pass time is palliative hunting are unrelenting in the search for answers to donations received by government both in cash and kind for the management of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
2. It is on record and good account that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), International Donor Agencies, Corporate Nigeria and patriotic individuals have made huge contributions to the government to manage the pandemic. Regrettably, Akwa Ibom State Covid-19 Management Committee has not shown the courtesy nor deemed it necessary to publish account of receipts and expenditures in line with the standard set by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19.
3. Speaking during one of the media chats on Covid-19, Governor Udom Emmanuel asserted that “We have spent over N3Billion on Covid-19 with no kobo from the FGN”. Interestingly, the assertion by Governor Udom was debunked by Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State who recently disclosed in a media chat that State Governors received the sum of N1Billion each from the FGN and in addition N1.1Billion from the World Bank for management of Covid-19. It was also reported that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) donated N100Million to each of the nine Niger Delta states of which Akwa Ibom State is a part.
4. In addition to cash, material donations of assorted food items and medical equipment were made to the Government of Akwa Ibom State by the FGN, NDDC, Ca-Covid, other corporate entities and patriotic individuals. We recall that in the months June/July, 2020 Akwa Ibom State Government in a most inauspicious manner shared in tiny nylon bags miserable quantity of “Not Enough for The Family” palliatives of rice, garri and flour alleged to be products of Governor Udom phantom industries. Shamelessly, the Government boasted of its fore sightedness, Agric-prowess and capacity to feed the people.
5. In a deliberate and accustomed manner, often intended to down play and relegate the contributions of the APC-led FGN in favour of his government, no disclosure was made to the public of palliatives donated by the FGN, NDDC, Ca-Covid, other Corporate organizations and individuals. While admitting donation of 1,800 (50Kg) bags of rice from the FGN, Udom derogatively described it as Custom bonded gift not good for human consumption. He mocked that the rice had expired and grown mucor thereby losing its natural colour. In one breadth, Udom said the rice was of no use and better dumped in the riverine and in another, he said the rice sample has been sent to the laboratory for a comprehensive analysis. Several months after and insensitive to Covid-19 induced hunger, Government is yet to disclose the status of the 1,800 bags of 50kg rice nor distribute the assortment of palliatives which it willfully reserved and stored in its warehouses.
6. Following the angry and distraught Nigerian youths that are embarking on aggressive hunt for Covid-19 palliatives, it is quite suggestive at this juncture that the government undertakes the sharing of those items to the people of Akwa Ibom transparently now instead of setting them aside to feed
7. It is not clear for what reasons and to whose gain the palliatives are being hoarded. Unconfirmed sources say it is being stored to be re-bagged by the State Government as Christmas gifts in December. Common sense dictates that it is better to thread on the path of caution and wisdom. APC is of the opinion that it is in the best interest of Government and the people for Deacon Udom Emmanuel to come out clean and render account of both monetary contributions and palliatives donated to the State. Donors of these items should be acknowledged and appreciated publicly.
8. Finally, though not verified, the allegation of the influence and presence of IPOB in the carnage that took place in Uyo on Thursday, October 22nd 2020 which led to the vandalization of APC party State secretariat is a matter of serious concern. It leaves one to wonder why our APC party office should be the only party office vandalized in a State governed by PDP government. As testified, the tardiness of the State Government and lukewarm approach to intelligence report is condemnable. We expect State Government to be alive to its responsibility by being fore sighted and proactive. APC Akwa Ibom State hereby urges the Government of Akwa Ibom State to tow the path of the Rivers State government where HE, Governor Nyesom Wike has taken a bold and proactive step to reinforce the proscription of IPOB by signing an Executive Order to that effect. This, to a large extent, shall serve as a pre-emptive measure to forestall any future engagement of the banned organization from purportedly fermenting trouble in the State.
State Publicity Secretary
Saturday, November 7 2020.