Okowa’s palliatives: Sapele Council Chairman demands voter’s card from residents as condition to benefit

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>Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.

By Shedreack Onitsha
Residents of Sapele, Delta State have berated the council chairman, Chief Eugene Inoaghan for allegedly asking for voters cards as a condition for the poor people in his wards to benefit from Gov Ifeanyi Okowa much talked about palliatives from the state food bank.

The state government over the weekend distributed food items to various Local government headquarters as palliatives to the poor and the vulnerable as people in the state to cushion the effects of COVID-19 stay at home order.

However, ADVOCATE investigations revealed that most food items sent to Sapele Local Government Area did not get to the poor and the vulnerable as people were made to believe, that the palliatives were given mostly to party loyalists and supporters.

The state Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa had announced that it had established a food bank in the state, but residents of the town have alleged that the process of distribution of whatever that may have been made available for that purpose has been politicized.

A resident of Ward 9, Miss Ochuko Emuakpor told ADVOCATE that the council chairman was booed when he attempted to politicize the sharing of the food items sent to Amukpe town hall by asking the women for voters’ card, a move resisted by the women.

According to her, trouble started when the Chairman who had on Friday directed that the food sent to Sapele be taken to his house drove into the ward demanding for voters’ card, the women in their hundreds were said to have booed him, he fled the venue sensing that his actions could spark off more crisis.

“When he came here, he demanded voters’ card and the women said this was not a party affair but he insisted on voters’ card, that was when the women started booing him.
Another source who had made a video of the distribution process told ADVOCATE that the intervention of an All Progressive Congress, APC, youth leader and Senior Legislative Assistant to the Deputy Senate President, Comrade Tuoyo Mabiaku, who brought foodstuffs to pacify the women, even as the women kept hailing the youth leader as their new chairman.

Pictures and videos have trended on social media making a public show of the so-called foodstuff distributed; these have only fueled outrage. In one of the videos, a small nylon wrap of rice, beans and garri was given to a woman, who rejected it, she ended up tearing the nylon and spilling the grains all over the place.

Residents of Gana Area, Ward 7 are also demanding an explanation for the food items the committee in charge claim to have been hijacked by hoodlums, saying they smell a conspiracy.

They are alleging that the hoodlums who hijacked the foodstuffs were neighbours whom the committee members knew “how can they say they are hoodlums when they know them, they did not raise an eyebrow, they just watch them making away with the goods, I am very sure it was a prearranged thing” she said.

While the hijacking of the 200 bags of 10kg rice and 20 bags of beans has continued to receive condemnation, most of the wards that have sighted a semblance of the food items in their areas, have decried the distribution process; “they should have told us the food items are for PDP members and not for Deltans” Ajarikuko Agnes, a 53-year-old woman said, complaining that a greater portion of the relief materials was reserved for party members when the goods arrived the local government.

“They said they are sharing food items, but they are demanding for party card if you don’t have a party card, you won’t be given their two cups of rice. They brought rice to Ojolu, the committee that was in charge divided it and said it was for party people and started sharing it to party members,” an obviously angry resident said.

“These party people are the one that is putting us in this position, they are suffering us,” a resident, a woman in her late 50s, lamented.

An effort to reach the commissioner for information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu for comment was not successful, as text enquiry to him was not responded to.
• Source: advocate.ng/2020/04/okowas-palliatives-sapele-residents-chides-lg-chairman-for-demanding-for-voters-card-from-beneficiaries/

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