Friday, 5 February 2021

How 1400 bags of rice from Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was distributed in C'River

No less than 1400 bags of Rice have been distributed across the 196 political wards of Cross River State across party lines with the two major political parties in the state as frontline beneficiaries.

This was part of the relief provided by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to the 9 Niger Delta States to help cushion the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic even as the second wave of the dreaded dieseas signals another national lockdown. 

According to Rt. Hon. Otuekong Orok Duke, a two term deputy speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly who coordinated the entire distribution process in the state, the palliatives is part of the ministry's frequent measures in providing succor to indigent Nigerians from the region. Duke explained that such palliative in different forms had been distributed in the last 22 years but this is the first time it is getting to the grassroot as it was always being highjacked by politicians. 

"For over 22 years these things have been coming in but nobody has received this amount and in such manner before. The mindset is that only militants and activist are to benefit, so they usually end up giving it to youth groups in Calabar south, Municipal and Akpabuyo axis. They have never extended beyond Akamkpa".

"The essence is for me to make sure that everybody gets his or her due. For the past 22 years we have been having this gesture on yearly basis, sometimes 4 times in a year, but nobody has ever received as much as we are having it here today. Before now, palliative like this was given to militants, activists, youth groups in Calabar South, Municipality, Akpabuyo, Bakassi and that Odukpani axis. They never extended this palliative beyond Akamkpa"

The former Lawmaker disclosed to  journalist that the state got a total of 1400 bags of rice for it's 196 political wards with each ward receiving 4 bags shared across party lines with the two main political parties of APC and PDP captured in the process. Youth groups such as National Youth Council of Nigeria, Niger Delta Activist Forum, Bakassi Strike Force etc, women and People Living With Disabilities were all carried along as they all got their share in the distribution process.

Chief Orok Duke also informed that this will be the first time in many years where the Palliatives from the Niger Delta ministry and commission will be getting down to the grassroot.

"So this year when I was given the assignment I told the Hon. Minister that we should do what is right. Cross River has 196 wards and they sent 1,400 bags so we decided to give 4 bags per ward and that translated to 784 bags. We also decided to further simplify the process by sharing the remaining 616 bags along with party alliances, women and youths. We called on leaders of APC and PDP across the 18 local government areas. We also considered the Bakassi Strike Force, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Niger Delta Activists Forum, the physically challenged and other women groups."

Speaking with newsmen, an elated Mrs. Marjorie Obo, one of the beneficiaries from the women group, said she was very happy to be a part of the exercise. "It shows that they Ministry and the Commission do not want us to remain hungry. We have a little to share with our children and I only pray that this gesture should continue to see the light of the day and not a one-off experience

In his remarks, the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Activists Forum, Comr. Oko Emmanuel Ogar and Comr. John Adie of the national body of the Niger Delta Activists Forum also articulated their sentiment in appreciation of the gesture of love by the Ministry of Niger Delta and the Commission headed by Sen. Godswill Obot Akpabio and Barr. Effiong Akwa respectively.

A member of the Persons Living With Disabilities in Cross River State, who wouldn't to be mentioned in print, expressed surprise by the kind gesture from the ministry and commission, while he appreciated the Uncommon gesture, stating that "It shows that they do not want us to be hungry but like Oliver Twist, we are asking for more especially for those of us living with disabilities, we deserve special attention. We however thank them for remembering us in the first instance, he said. 

When asked what magic he performed to ensure the Palliatives went round, he simply said "To have an egalitarian exercise like this we have to do our homework to ensure equity because some groups have more members than others."

Many have attributed the wide reach of the Palliatives to the strategic and indepth planning prowess of the man they have called a grassrooter and "King of the Boys" Chief Orok Duke