We only shared CACOVID rice to vulnerable Osun citizens, not party members – govt
By Ekene Agbor, Osogbo
Osun State Government has debunked insinuation that it only shared bags of rice donated to the State by the Private Sector Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACOVID) to politicians and other members of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the state.
The state Commissioner for Commerce, Industries, Cooperatives and Empowerment, Dr. Henry Bode Olaonipekun, disclosed this in Osogbo on Tuesday while distributing the CACOVID 10kg bags of rice donated to the State to cushion the adverse effects of the global Coronavirus pandemic to pensioners in the state.
He said the State had distributed over 30,000 out of the expected 40,000 10kg bags of the CACOVID rice so far.
Olaonipekun said about 4,000 retirees received 10kg bag each.
Meanwhile, the beneficiaries under the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in the state have lauded the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for taking their welfare and well-being as priority.
The retirees in the State also showered encomiums on the State Governor for counting them worthy of benefiting from the rice component.
It will be recalled that the State government on Thursday last week commenced the distribution of CACOVID rice upon the receipt, as part of efforts to ensure onward distribution across the State.
Some of the retirees who addressed the journalists during the distribution at the State Government Secretariat, Abere, Osogbo, applauded the distribution strategy adopted by the State government to ensure equitable distribution of the palliatives.
A retiree, Mr. Alabi Rafiu, expressed profound appreciation to Governor Oyetola for taking the general welfare of the citizens, particularly pensioners, as priority.
Rafiu who represented Local Governments and Primary Schools retirees, attributed the gesture to the love that the government has for the senior citizens, particularly the retirees and the vulnerable.
“I want to thank Mr. Governor for deeming it fit to incorporate pensioners into the State in the sharing of the rice component of the CACOVID palliatives.
“It is a great thing for us to be part of the beneficiaries of this kind gesture. We want to appreciate him for remembering us and we pray that God will continue to be with him, uphold him and grant him all he desires in life, most importantly, the required resources to run the State”, he added.
Another pensioner, Mr. Gbadebo Olusesan Adegboye, appreciated the kind gesture of the State government over the palliative.
Adegboye who spoke on behalf of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Secondary Schools pensioners, maintained that the gesture was a reflection of the passion which the government had for the retirees.
He implored government at all levels not to relent in their support for the pensioners.
“We just have to thank Mr. Governor for what he has done for us. We had interfaces with government here and there and we know that the resources are very lean. But we will keep on encouraging the government to do more just as we thank Mr. Governor for all he has been doing to impact positively on the lives of the retirees in the state”, Adegboye stressed.
In his remarks, the commissioner said the State would not rest on its oars to ensure adequate distribution of the rest of the rice upon receipt, adding that the State was committed to continually upholding and guaranteeing the general welfare and well-being of the citizens.
“We are here to take care of the retirees in the continuation of the distribution of the rice component of CACOVID palliatives, and as you can see, it is the turn of general retirees, covering the primary schools, secondary schools, local governments, Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“We have been taking on several other groups such as vulnerable people; members of the formal and informal sectors; artisans such as barbers, tailors, vulcanizers; farmers; market women; students; youths; traditional rulers; and community leaders, among others, since the beginning of the distribution.
“We have also taken care of other critical vulnerable people in line with our timetable; and today is the turn of the retirees across the State.
“So far so good, we have done about 70 percent of the distribution. The rest are coming and as soon as they arrive, we shall continue the distribution immediately for effective onward distribution”, he added.
Debunking the insinuations that the distribution strategy was channelled through the Local Government Chairmen and political loyalists, Olaonipekun said it was illogical to tow such path as the food items were meant to meet the needs of the vulnerable people in the society.
He said the distribution had been designed and made in line with the social investment statistics of the State as part of effort to adequately and sufficiently reach out to the target beneficiaries.
“We are using this medium to appeal to our people across the State that CACOVID rice is meant for the people, particularly the vulnerable people in the society, not political parties and their loyalists.
“Contrary to the report that reached us that people were harrasshing council chairmen because of the rice, I am using this medium to clear the air that the food item is not meant for members of any political parties and their affiliated groups, but rather, the citizens.
“We didn’t hand over the rice to any chairman for distribution. We only distributed it to members of the formal and informal sectors as well as the vulnerable individuals through their leaderships across the State.
“As you have been seeing since we commenced the distribution exercise, we didn’t channel the distribution through any political party or local governments, but rather, through the leaderships of the different groups and sectors in the society. We have given it to the identified groups who belong to the beneficiary groups that I itemised above”, he added.
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