The Ebonyi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress 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.
Eze Nwachukwu, the state Chairman of the APC, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abakaliki on Tuesday.
The Ebonyi State Government recently inaugurated COVID-19 Palliatives Distribution Joint Committee, comprising the Peoples Democratic Party, APC, existing political parties and the Christian Association of Nigeria.
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 COVID-19 pandemic.
Nwachukwu said the party received the invitation through a radio announcement on the state-owned Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation on April 24.
He said the party honoured the invitation after it consulted with stakeholders and attended the meeting presided over by Francis Nwifuru, Speaker, Ebonyi House of Assembly and Chairman COVID-19 Welfare and Fund Raising Sub-Committee.
He said: “I heard a radio announcement on 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 Governor 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 Governments.’
“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 our letter.
“So, we’ll wait for a reply of 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.”
NAN reports that the Speaker recently announced that all arrangements had been concluded to commence distribution of the palliative items comprising food and condiments to Ebonyi State 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 State, irrespective of social and economic backgrounds.