The Ebonyi State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has listed conditions that must be fulfilled by the state government for the party to participate in the COVID-19 Ebonyi Palliatives Distribution Joint Committee.
The party’s state Chairman Mr. Eze Nwachukwu made this known in an interview with newsmen in Abakaliki on Tuesday.
Recall that the Ebonyi State Government recently inaugurated the COVID-19 Palliatives Distribution Joint Committee, comprising the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), APC, existing political parties, and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
The committee was inaugurated to oversee the distribution of the relief materials released by the Federal and State Governments to ease the hardship occasioned by the lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nwachukwu said the party received the invitation through a radio announcement in the state’s owned Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation (EBBC) on Friday, April 24.
He said the party honoured the invitation after it consulted with stakeholders and attended the meeting presided by Mr. Francis Nwifuru, Speaker, Ebonyi House of Assembly, and Chairman COVID-19 Welfare and Fund Raising Sub-Committee.
“I heard a radio announcement in EBBC inviting me to a meeting at the House of Assembly on COVID-19 palliatives and after consultations with my members, it became imperative that we attend.
“I attended the meeting where-in they briefed us on the plans and arrangements for the palliative distribution.
“It was at the meeting that I got information that they are repackaging the rice meant for distribution to the people to bear Gov. Dave Umahi’s picture.
“I briefed my party members on this development and it was resolved that we should write to them officially, informing them that both the president’s and governor’s pictures must be on the branded rice if there must be pictures at all.
“We also suggested in our letter that in the alternative that the rice should be left as they were when they were delivered to the state by the Federal Government or let the inscription read, ‘COVID-19 Palliatives’ courtesy, FG/Ebonyi Government,’’ Nwachukwu said.
According to him, we are resolute in our position that we, as a party will not be part of the committee, should Ebonyi Government go-ahead to brand the rice with only the governor’s picture.
“We, however, agreed that political parties involved should raise one person each per polling unit which we have done but we are yet to submit until they reply to our letter.
“So, we’ll wait for a reply to the letter which we delivered through speed post on Friday, which we have evidence of delivery.
“So, I’m waiting for them to give us a reply; if they do, then we’ll look at the content of the reply and if it’s something that we will continue, we continue but if it’s not, we’ll tell the whole world that we are not part of the exercise and our reasons for doing so,” Nwachukwu said.
The speaker recently announced that all arrangements had been concluded to commence distribution of the palliative items comprising food and condiments to Ebonyi residents.
According to the speaker, the palliative items were donations from both the Federal and State Governments which would be distributed to all residents across the 1,785 polling units in Ebonyi, irrespective of social and economic backgrounds.