Are Your Palliatives From FG? APC Group queries Soludo, demands transparency

A group known as the South-East All Progressives Congress ( APC) Young Progressives Forum, has raised concerns over the palliative measures Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State announced on Monday.

In a press statement co-signed by its national convener, Paschal Candle, the group accused Soludo that the address he gave to the people about the palliatives lacked transparency and accountability.

The group queried the governor to respond to the concerns earlier raised as regards the food palliatives that the APC-led federal government extended to all states of the federation, including Anambra State.

The group’s statement read in part, ”The Anambra State Chapter of the South East APC Young Progressives Forum has noted the effort by the Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo to respond to the concerns we earlier raised as regards the food palliatives that the APC-led federal government extended to all States of the federation including Anambra State.

“Governor Soludo on Monday in a broadcast to Ndi Anambra enumerated a lot of things his administration intends to do to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy on our people. We are not moved by those rhetorics, “I will, I will, I will”. Ndi Anambra wants to see action.
Having gone through Governor Soludo address, we raise the following fundamental concerns, which we want Ndi Anambra to ask Soludo and hold him accountable:

“The address by Governor Soludo did not address our key demand, which is for Prof. Soludo to state in clear terms if the said 5 trucks of rice the federal government distributed to each state has been received by the government of Anambra State or if we are still expecting the receipt of the 5 truckloads of rice.

“It is important that we track which rice, Mr. Governor intends to share to 300,000 households and the quantity. If the rice is from the Federal government, it is very important to let our people know so that the State Government will not claim it came from the state coffers. So, we are insisting that Governor Soludo categorically affirm or deny receipt of the 5 truckloads of rice from the FG as other states like Kwara, Borno etc have done.

“This is a simple statement for the Governor to make, any attempt to shy away from making such a simple clarification raises grounds for suspicion of potential corrupt practices because the state government may surreptitiously include cost of rice freely given to the state as part of the expenses the Anambra State government made to provide palliatives to Ndi Anambra. We want to guard against that potential avenue of corruption.

“Secondly, the address by the Governor did not make mention in any way at all, the N5 billion worth of food palliatives the federal government is also extending to Anambra State, which is meant to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilisers. This is HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS from Governor Soludo. What will it take Soludo to just mention in his address that FG is giving states N5 billion as part of palliatives to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal like other states have done if not for a suspicious motive of keeping Ndi Anambra in the dark. This hide and seek game will not work Mr Governor.

“We therefore call on Governor Soludo to be open to Ndi Anambra and tell us about the N5 billion additional FG food palliatives and how he intends to use it. That is the barest minimum we expect from Mr. Governor. This is important because we know that part of the N5 billion Naira (48%) is a loan to Anambra and Ndi Anambra deserves to know any loan the Governor is incurring on their behalf and how it is utilised.

“Thirdly, Gov. Soludo should have announced to Ndi Anambra in his address how he intends to compile the social register for Anambra, which will form the basis for the cash transfer to the most vulnerable using the $800 million World Bank loan. We suggested ways to make the list comprehensive and non-partisan but Mr. Governor was silent on the mode of compiling the register, which further solidifies our suspicion that Gov. Soludo wants to fill the Social Register with mainly APGA members and supporters. We will resist such move vehemently.

“Governor Soludo in his Address said that “ his government had increased the salaries of all public servants by 10% effective January 2023. We have been paying the 10% adjustment since January 2023. In case we do not know, from the Payslip of Graduate under Level 007 to 010, is between 38,000.00 to 53,000.00 so that 10% increase is N3,800 to N5,300.00. Mr Governor, this is not what Civil servants in Anambra State needs. They do not need salary adjustments of peanuts but salary increase. Their take home pay is nothing to write home about in this present economic realities.

” Governor Soludo said in his address that “We will continue to clear the backlog of gratuity and pension of our pensioners. Recall that we met 4-year pension and gratuity arrears when we assumed office, which we have been paying since assumption of office.” From our Investigation in JAC Office, gratuity in Anambra State has been paid since April 2018 till date. This is where they stopped under Ex- Governor Willie Obiano. So which backlog did Governor been paying.

“The South East APC Young Progressives Forum, Anambra State chapter therefore calls on Governor Charles Soludo to be more forthcoming and transparent with ndi Anambra on the 5 truckload of rice from the FG and the N5 billion FG is equally giving to Anambra State to provide further food palliatives to the citizenry and other sundry issues. Anything short of a full disclosure on these two important aspects will not be acceptable to us. The era of the APGA-led government in Anambra State confiscating FG interventions meant for the people and repackaging it as if it is an APGA programme is over. We are here to make sure of that.

“We also want to thank many patriotic Anambrarians for adding their voice to the call for accountability from the Governor and the Anambra State government. This is our only state and we will not relent in holding the government to account and also make sure that any welfare programme for Ndi Anambra gets to all Anambrarians regardless of their political affiliation or connection to the state government officials.”