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APC, APGA bicker over FG’s palliative rice in Anambra

The All Progressives Congress, South-East Young Progressives Forum, has accused the Anambra State governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, of shortchanging the people of Anambra by “re-bagging” the Federal Government’s palliative rice into “midget” bags and sharing them with members of his party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

The group described Soludo’s method of sharing the FG’s palliatives as “fraudulent,” while accusing the governor of re-bagging and rebranding the rice for his re-election campaign.

They stated this in a statement jointly signed by its National Convener, Paschal Candle and the State Coordinator, Chibuzo Michael and issued to journalists in Awka on Thursday.

They noted that five trucks of 50kg bags of rice palliatives and N5 billion were given to the state by the Federal Government, but the state governor has re-bagged the rice into 10kg bags and started sharing them with members of his party, the APGA.

The statement read, “The attention of the South-East APC Young Progressives Forum, Anambra State Chapter has been drawn to the fraudulent manner in which the government of Anambra State under the leadership of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has been handling the rice palliatives from the Federal Government.

“Recently pictures of 10kg bags of rice branded with pictures of Soludo and his party, APGA surfaced with the State Government announcing that it is now ready to share the palliatives it announced back in August.

“To say that this is a most uncharitable act by Governor Soludo is understatement. This is fraudulent and tantamount to stealing of federal palliatives for cheap political popularity.

“To further compound the total lack of transparency in Soludo’s belated distribution of the federal rice palliatives, his government did not announce how they intended to ensure the rice is distributed to the most vulnerable people in the state without recourse to partisanship.

“Our fears were confirmed when it emerged that the rice palliatives from the Federal Government were being shared to supporters of APGA and the Soludo government. In some of the videos we have seen in many places, The rice palliatives is for Ndi APGA, as you can see them singing (Nwannem Mutu aka na obi ka Ibata APGA , Ndi Uwa Oma).

“The most brazen act in the whole affair by Soludo was the inexplicable use of federal rice palliatives to celebrate the birthday of Chief Arthur Eze (Ozoigbondu). It got to our attention that Prof. Soludo’s government conveyed people (majorly APGA supporters) from different parts of the state to the Emmaus House ground in Awka to share 10kg bags of Soludo branded rice to them as part of 75th birthday celebrations of Chief Arthur Eze.

“This to us is highly unacceptable. We also feel it is ridiculous for the state government to share only 10kg bags of rice to the people (even if they are only APGA supporters). Why is Anambra State government sharing only 10kg bag of rice as palliatives after a three-month delay?”

“Soludo also seems not to be talking about the other leg of the Federal palliatives, which involve 40,000 bags of maize and bags of fertilisers to farmers as part of measures to help vulnerable individuals and farmers to boost food productivity.

“We want to use this opportunity to call upon Mr Governor to come clean on this whole palliative affair as it is becoming hugely embarrassing for Anambra State.”

But in a swift reaction to the development, when contacted on the telephone, Chief Tony Olisa-Mbeki, the Special Adviser to the APGA National Chairman on Media and Publicity, Sly Ezeokenwa, described the APC’s allegations as “baseless” and “unfounded.”

“The persons making these claims from APC lack credibility, as they do not hold any political office or represent any reputable organisation that would make me react to their assertions.

“Their statements seem to be mere creations of their imagination, lacking any empirical evidence or factual basis. It is important to recognise that these individual’s mischievous remarks fall into the category of intentional deception, aiming to mislead or manipulate others for their own undisclosed motives.

“Governor Soludo did not share palliatives to APGA supporters. I did not receive one or know anyone who received the said rice as an APGA supporter even when I am the Special Adviser to the APGA National Chairman on Media and Publicity. The palliatives are for the people of Anambra, irrespective of any party affiliation,” Olisa-Mbeki added.

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