Saturday, 5 February 2022

Much Ado About the Sharing of NDDC Rice










It is true that rice is a common stable in most Nigerian homes. Almost every home in Nigeria consume rice at least once in a week, thus making it one of the most sort after meals in our homes.

This special delicacy has been at the front burner amongst numerous conversations that trended last week with the likes of Rt. Hon. Orok Otuekong Duke and Mr. Cletus Obon taking the center stage while Journalist and citizen Agba Jalingo led Cross Riverians and social media users alike to ask questions as it concerns the recent NDDC rice distribution to Cross River State.

The contentions bordered on hoarding of the rice, to sharing of the rice to Cross Riverians not originally captured in the distribution list, and finally financial misappropriation. These were some of the allegations leveled against Orok Duke and his co coordinator, Cletus Obon.

To clear the air and put the records straight, TDN brings to you except from an interview with Rt. Hon. Orok Otuekong Duke and Mr. Cletus Obon.

Duke informed that the original amount of Rice due and approved for Cross River State is (N35m), Thirty Five Million Naira worth of Rice for the 196 political wards of the state. But unfortunately only (N10m), Ten Million Naira Worth of Rice was released to. 

However, there are insinuations that one  Offiong Ephraim said to be the youth leader is still in possession of the balance of (N25m), Twenty Five Million Naira. 

According to Duke, over one thousand bags of rice worth (N35m), Thirty Five Million Naira was approved and released for the state but he has only taken delivery of (N10m) Ten Million Naira worth of Rice and has began distribution to the various wards in the South pending when the remaining will arrive the distribution will continue in the central and Northern Senatorial Districts. 

"Basically, we were supposed to have had this small largesse from the NDDC before Christmas to celebrate Christmas but, they couldn't take delivery since, I think, the rice are all sourced within Nigeria.

"Since, almost all the states too were looking for rice at the same time. So, we had scarcity and a little paucity in the activities in the secretariat. So, they had promised us after new year (sic), the little we took delivery of we decided to start sharing.
Duke informed that the N10m worth of rice he got was meant for Cross River South and it was shared within five days to specific groups in the Southern Senatorial District. According to him those captured are Youth groups such as Youths, Women and Physically Challenged. 

"...from the Southern Senatorial District. We now shared to party structure, after that we will look for interest groups like Niger Delta Youth Movement, former militants the Bakassi Strike Force, we looked at other youth groups, then women groups." He said. 


Also in an earlier report by TDN, Duke was quoted saying "...we are trying to spread it out to cover a maximum duration of 5 day, beginning from Tuesday this week, the distribution will follow a sequence of Tuesday for EXCO structure, then on Wednesday we will distribute to Odukpani, Akamkpa, Biase, and Akpabuyo, followed by specialised groups, youth and women groups. As more bags come in, the distribution will proceed to other senatorial districts like Cross River Central etc". 

"We were supposed to have had over a thousand bags of rice but, I hear the youth leader is still working on it. His name is Offiong Ephraim.

"So, we are not going to wait for them. We've said the little we have, let's start from the Southern Senatorial District. We now shared to party structure, after that we will look for interest groups like Niger Delta Youth Movement, former militants the Bakassi Strike Force, we are going to look at other youth groups, then we go to women groups, we are trying to spread it out to cover a maximum duration of 5 days", he said.



In all these I think Duke was only been fair as a politician, he might not have judiciously shared the Niger Delta Larges according to specifications but none can deny the fact that he shared all of the rice given him to share. Like it was earlier pointed out he might as a grassroot politician brought in political sentiments to the sharing by ensuring the party structure in his District benefit from the sharing which we cannot deny that these new sets of persons he introduced are not Niger Deltans and not qualified to partake in a Niger Delta larges. 

While we try to hold Duke accountable for the responsibility given him to carry out by NDDC, let us also appreciate the fact that at least the rice was shared which we all saw pictures and videos unlike some politicians who will never share such larges especially when they have a big friend ontop just like Duke has the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio as his friend. 

Many states Coordinator did not share the rice rather convert the rice or money were converted and shared which Duke would have done same, rather he choose to share so those poor old widows, PLWD etc would have what to eat. 

Again as we tend to call Duke to account for his stewardship let's not forget to appreciate that he kept to terms, whether in full or in partial but Cross Riverians, women, youths and PLWD were carried along. 




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