Friday, 5 February 2021

APC stakeholders fumes over distribution of Niger Delta Palliatives in C'River

Ukorebi Esien | 4th February 2021

A Cross Section of members of the All Progressives Congress have expressed dissatisfaction over the distribution of palliatives from the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in Cross River State. 

This is coming just two days after Rt. Hon. Orok Otuekong Duke began the coordination of the process that saw the distribution of bags of rice across the 196 political wards of the state cutting across party lines as the two major political Parties in the state were captured in his distribution formula. 

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Cross River State, who is also part of the founding fathers of the party in the state while speaking confidentially with TDN condemned the fact that the process is being coordinated by "a low key politician" from The People's Democratic Party. 

The party chieftain who spoke to us on condition of anonymity said such a thing can never happen in a PDP led Government no matter the close ties between the minister and Chief Orok Duke, "Party affairs should be separated from friendship, they are people who have worked for the party over the years, giving them such opportunity to coordinate the process could boost their morals and relevance, not just for financial benefit but for political benefits" He said. 

I hold nothing against Orok Duke, but my point still remains that the party lacks good reward system, the same Akpabio, if peradventure tomorrow he needs support from Cross Riverians for any political ambition that concerns us, he will still return to this family? So why neglect the family now that there's an opportunity to strengthen the family. 

The APC chieftain also revealed that he got insight from a staff of the ministry that 1400 bags of Rice and a sum of N24 million was given to Chief Orok Duke for Cross Riverians, but it's quiet unfortunate that he's silent over the money but only circulating the bags of rice." 

Meanwhile, another leader of the party, Comrade. Iso Edim who told TDN that he's yet to get clarifications from Rt. Hon. Orok Duke as to the distribution of the Palliatives, is also of the opinion that the party lacks a reward system and this is what is actually fueling factionalism in the party. 

He cited instances where the recent ambassadorial appointment of a lady from the northern part of the state who is a known staunch member of PDP while they are several elder state men of the party in the state who have toiled night and day for the party. 

Edim, called on Sen. Akpabio and other leaders of APC to henceforth adopt the policy of rewarding hardworking members of the party, lamenting that such opportunity as the sharing of Niger Delta Palliatives would have gone a long way in boosting the morals of members of the party in the state and could also be used to induce and entice Cross Riverians to join the party even as the party registration commenced.

Also speaking on the matter, Elder David Okon, a foremost member of the party and one-time Deputy Governoship candidate in the state, said as along as the process is transparent and Orok Duke is doing the right thing he should proceed in as much as he is also a Cross Riverian and he hasn't defrauded anybody in the process, then he sees nothing wrong with a non member of the party coordinating the process. 

Elder David Stated that Cross Riverians are fond of complaints even when they would have done worst. "Although I am not aware of such thing going on, you are the one informing me now, all the same, I see nothing wrong with Orok Duke sharing the palliative as long it gets to the people it was meant for. One thing about Cross Riverians is that we complain a lot, even when we know that we wouldn't do better than the person we are complaining about". He said. 

 Another member of the party who doesn't want his name in print informed TDN that where the entire process is faulty is the fact that a nonmember of the NDDC commission is leading the process when we have directors of NDDC in the state.

"All though I would have thought Akpabio would be wise enough to use this activity in boosting our morals as members of the party in the state. But be it as it were, if he didn't want to make it a party affair, at least the nearest option would have been the Niger Delta Commission in the state. They're are directors and staff in that office, he would have used, go to other states the reverse is the case, why use a nonparty man, just because of friendship? This is a strong betrayal of the party. Orok Duke is a good man, I have no issue with him, but my concern is with the honorable minister who have neglected the party. Truly speaking such a thing can never happen under a PDP government. 

When asked to give his opinion, the interim Publicity secretary of the party, Mr. Bassey Ita, said the party is not officially aware of such palliative distribution and as a person this is the first time he's hearing of such. He however declined comment on the matter until he gets across to the state chairman of the party, stating that for now the party is engrossed with the party registration and revalidation exercise that's ongoing. 

The State chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Sen. M. T. Mbu didn't take nor return his call even as at press time. 

Also, another founding member of the APC, Elder Professor Eyo Etim Nyong when contacted on the issue, told TDN that he isn't aware of such palliative, stating that he will get back when he gets a full grabs of the Niger Delta Palliatives.

Reacting to all these allegations, Rt. Hon. Orok Duke said, the sharing of palliatives from Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs had been on going for over 20 years now in the state and nobody gets to know about it as it shared amongst some certain persons within Calabar South and Bakassi Local Government Areas. That this is the first time such palliative would be going round the entire state.

"Look the ministry had been doing this for over 20years now and nobody heard about it. But this time the Minister said it want going to be business as usual so I had to step in with a Strategy that will get the Palliatives down to the grassroots. 

We devised a means of distribution and as I speak with you now, no political party will say they were not carried along in the process, this rice has gone round to every ward in Cross River State across political parties division, the women have been captured separately, youth groups, such as National Youth Council, Niger Delta Activist Forum, Bakassi Strick Force, People living with disability among others have all been captured with many having collected theirs. 

The chairman of APC in the state, Sen. Mathew Mbu, the member representing Abi/yakurr Federal Constituency, Alex Egbonna and several other national and house of Assembly members of both from APC and PDP have all been given their share for their  Local Government Areas or constituents. Some came by themselves while others sent representatives.  The process have been transparent so far. This is the first time in 20 years we are capturing everyone along. 

I know a lot of persons won't be happy me because I have spoilt their plans. They wanted to hijack the process as usual but this time around it has failed them." Duke said.