By Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin
Kwara state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are trading blames over distribution of palliative materials to cushion the effect of the State Government stay-at-home directive.
The opposition PDP specifically accused Government of politicising the distribution of palliatives in the state.
It expressed consternation on the alleged reports from civil society groups and Kwarans that food items and cash donations meant for the vulnerable people were shared among executive and members of APC in different parts of the state.
PDP spokesperson in the state Tunde Ashaolu alleged the Government’s action smacked of insensitivity to the plight of the people
Ashaolu said that: “Our party is shocked by reports from Civil Society Organisations and complaints by Kwarans that the distribution of palliatives in different parts of the State was politicised and hijacked by APC members.
“According to a report from one CSO, the sum of 80,000 naira was spent in each ward by the ward committees and APC ward/LGA party executives as follows: 30,000 naira for the ward committee members, 10,000 naira for the APC Party executives at the LGA and 40,000 naira for the APC party executives at the ward level.
“It is sad and unfortunate that the State government would consider party affiliation in the distribution of palliatives – most of which were donated by corporate bodies and philanthropic individuals – to cushion the effects of the lockdown on the less privileged members of the society. This is height of insensitivity to the plight of Kwaran masses.
“The distribution of food items and cash donations at this critical period should not have anything to do with party affiliation or sentiment.
The materials are meant for vulnerable persons and not party members. The politicisation of the distribution has only shown that the Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq-led government care less about welfare of vulnerable Kwarans whose livelihoods have been grounded by the lockdown.
“We implore the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq-led APC government to admit its partisanship, failure and irresponsibility in the distribution of the palliatives and should ensure that, going forward, the materials and cash donations get to the poor and the needy whose daily survival has been threatened.”
But APC described the allegation as scurrilous, sensational and scathing.
APC spokesperson in the state Tajudeen Aro in a statement, said PDP has ceaselessly employed socio-political tactics to devalue the government of the APC in the state.
Said he: “It should be stated for the records that the reason for the appointment of non partisan and reputable figures as members of committee on palliatives, headed by the Emir of Shonga, Dr Haliru Yahaya was to have a non partisan approach to the relief material distribution.
“Interestingly, the committee facilitated a transparent distribution measures which encouraged non government organizations, NGOs, to monitor the distribution of the palliatives.
“It is equally worrisome that political actors are playing politics with the situation by painting the kwara initiatives in different colors.
It is in the same light that we view the attempt to discredit the governor before the public for an honest and sincere action to target the very poor who are the worst hit by the government’s directive to stay at home as part of measures to curb the spread of the deadly Coronavirus disease.
“It is PDP that is playing politics with this Covid19 pandemic. History is being made now. How would all the leaders want to be remembered for the roles they have played?
“It would be uncharitable for any patriotic leader in Kwara state to ignore the need for collaboration with the state Government for the full restoration of this Coronavirus crisis.
“It beats our imagination why the distinguished and prominent politicians could not team up with the Kwara state government to face this common enemy
“It is not enough to state that they had distributed palliatives to their supporters. The fight against this virus which is a global pandemic should not be politicized.
“The Covid-19 knows no political party or history. What should bother Kwarans is how to join the state government in the fight to flatten the curve and eliminate the state and Nigeria as a whole from the spread map of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
“We pray we are not forced to travel down a painful path because of politics. This is a time for aggressive response. To what extent does the past political leaders present consider the State’s interest above their personal pride.
A glance around the state during this challenging period reveals self centered politicians who care little or nothing about the parlous situation or that of the hapless citizenry.”