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January 7, 2024

Tinubu Christmas Rice: Senators, Reps, constituency members clash

Tinubu Christmas Rice: Senators, Reps, constituency members clash

By Dayo Johnson, Steve Oko, Ndahi Marama, Cinonso Alozie, Ochuko Akuopha, Bashir Bello, Demola Akinyemi, Emma Una,Charly Agwam, Ozioruva Aliu, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Shina Abubakar, Laolu Elijah, Egufe Yafugborhi & Chioma Onuegbu

Following reports that President Bola Tinubu has ordered the distribution of palliatives worth millions of naira to members of the National Assembly, NASS, for onward distribution to their constituencies, confusion has emerged on what the true situation is.

While some reports claimed the President had given Senators and House of Representatives members funds, the lawmakers and members of their constituencies are singing different tunes.

Spokesman and Chairman, House Committee on Information, Akin Rotimi, said the legislators were given palliatives and not money from the President, further deepening the controversy surrounding the matter.

He said the palliatives were given to them through the Ministry of Agriculture.

A presidential aide, Segun Dada, had, on his X handle, said the President gave palliatives worth N200 million and N100 million respectively to Senators and members of the lower arm of NASS.

He said: “After initial logistics delay, I can now confirm that Senators and members of the House of Representatives have started taking stock of the Federal Government’s palliative items for their constituents as part of efforts to ease life for all Nigerians.

“Each HoR member received items worth N100m while Senatorial constituencies got palliative items worth N200m.’’
Also, in a viral video, the lawmaker representing Etsako Federal Constituency, Dekeri Anamero, alluded to such.
But some senators and members of House of Representatives, who confided in Sunday Vanguard, denied receiving monetary or any type of gifts for their constituents.

Further findings at the constituencies of the lawmakers across the country, also revealed that majority are neither aware of the largesse nor haven’t received it.

BORNO/YOBE:

In Borno and Yobe states, residents told Sunday Vanguard they didn’t receive such gestures from the lawmakers or any of their representatives. In Askira Uba Federal Constituency, Mallam Audu Isa, from Hawul, admitted receiving rice and condiments distributed by a lawmaker, Dr. Usman Balami, but said such a gesture was the legislator’s gift to his constituents.

He said the items were not from President Tinubu.

Another resident of Damaturu, Mohammed Gujba, said there was nothing like palliatives from President Tinubu.
“I can tell you that it is not true, because there was nothing like palliatives coming from President Tinubu through senators or House of Representatives members as being insinuated,” Gujba stated.

However, some federal lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a promise was only made to them by the federal government, but nothing was provided.

According to one of them, “What happened was that the federal government has promised to assist constituents through National Assembly members and Federal Ministry of Agriculture, but even the bills of quantity have not been perfected, not to mention contractors supplying the items.”

Another lawmaker, who pleaded anonymity, said:” My attention has been drawn to a video in circulation made by a colleague and Member of the House of Representatives, with gubernatorial ambition in Edo State, Anamero Dekeri, informing the public that all members of the 10th Assembly were given four trailers load of rice for their various federal constituencies.

”This information is not only spurious but also misleading. As the member representing the federal constituency, I can categorically say that not one bag of rice has been given by / supplied by the federal government of Nigeria for distribution to any constituency.”

IMO:
Residents of Imo State said they weren’t aware of any Christmas palliative given to their lawmakers by President Tinubu.
In the 10 federal constituencies and three senatorial districts, nobody admitted to having received any gesture in that direction. Some President-Generals of communities said no lawmaker contacted them about any Christmas gift from President Tinubu.

KWARA:

Of the three senators in Kwara State, namely Senator Sadiq Abubakar, representing Kwara North, Senator Saliu Mustapha of Kwara Central and Senator Lola Ashiru, representing Kwara South, only the latter failed to distribute the palliatives meant for the people of Kwara South.

Sunday Vanguard findings across Kwara South Senatorial District revealed that no item branded palliative was given to people of the constituency during the yuletide.

It was, however, learnt that Senator Saliu Mustapha of Kwara Central and Senator Sadiq Abubakar, Kwara North, distributed palliatives such as rice and groundnut oil among others during the yuletide.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that lorry loads of items such as small rebagged rice, groundnut oil and bags of Semovita among others branded in their names were reportedly distributed to their constituencies by their aides. It was done through representatives of various groups and associations during the yuletide.

What is not clear is whether the palliatives were among those said to have been provided by President Tinubu through the Ministry of Agriculture.

Similarly, the six members of House of Representatives from the state were said to have distributed food items to their constituencies.

ONDO:

A cross-section of those interviewed in Ondo State denied receiving food items from their representatives in NASS.
Also, two legislators said they didn’t receive any Christmas palliative from President Bola Tinubu.

Speaking in Akure, the Senator representing Ondo Central, Niyi Adegbonmire, said no food item was distributed to them by the federal government for onward distribution to their constituents.

Also speaking at a town hall meeting in Idanre, to update his people on his six-month stewardship, Festus Akingbaso, who represents ldanre/ lfedore Federal Constituency, said government only pledged to send the items.

His words:”We have not received any food item as palliatives. Although the federal government promised to send the palliatives to members of the National Assembly, we are yet to receive the food items.

“ The food items I distributed were purchased by me. If we receive the promised food items from the government, we’ll distribute them to our constituents.”

OYO:

In Oyo, residents said they were yet to receive anything. At Mokola area of Ibadan, people standing in a cluster said they were not expecting anything from lawmakers.

Speaking on behalf of the crowd under Mokola flyover, Mr Jimoh Alake, a popular grocery seller, said, “if the government has any palliative for us, it shouldn’t be shared through those legislators who are only interested in their welfare and that of their cronies.”

Mama Ayo, a printer in Ago Tapa area of the city, dismissed the question of whether she was given any palliative, hysterically.

“We are in big trouble in this country, “ she said.

A lawyer, Mr Taiwo Adediran, said, “government knows what to do if it actually wants to help Nigerians. It is not ready to help Nigerians. They created the Bank Verification Number, BVN, so why can’t they use the BVN to distribute such money? I believe government indirectly gifted the senators money and not the masses.
“If anyone commits an offence, don’t they know how to trace the person? When it comes to the sharing of money, they use the legislators. “ OSUN:

In Osun, it was learnt that most of the lawmakers did not distribute any sort of palliative.
Members of various constituencies said they only heard about the said palliatives, but didn’t receive any from their legislators.

Adedayo Adedeji, who is from Atakumosa-West in Ijesa-South Federal Constituency, challenged his lawmaker, Sanya Omirin, to tell the people the true story about the palliative.