Stakeholders in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State on Monday debunked claims in a viral online video that a 10kg bag of rice was given to be shared as palliative in Sokeye Community.
At a meeting called by the leadership of the council to explain how the palliatives meant to alleviate the pains occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy were distributed, stakeholders said the formula used to share the bags of rice is the best they’ve ever seen in the state.
Speaking at the event, Bishop Ezekiel Olukunle, who represented CAN on the committee that shared and monitored the palliatives, described the video as a hatchet job and urged the public to disregard it.
“CAN was given 1000 bags of rice for our members who are vulnerable. We shared these diligently and Sokeye, like every communities, got its own share. How then can he say only one bag was to be shared by all households in the estate? He is definitely up to something bad and we plead that he should be ignored,” he said.
Corroborating the Bishop, Dr. Saheed Adeleye, who represented the Muslim Community on the sharing committee, said the formula used to share the palliatives is the best he has seen in his almost 40 years of living in the council area.
The community leader who said the man who did the video lives in the same area with him, describe him as a known opposition agent.
“There is no truth in the claims of the man. He is being used. We know him. He has never contributed to the development of our area but he is good at ganging up against every government.
“I can tell you that we in the Muslim Community got 1000 bags of rice which we distributed to the vulnerable amongst us. I live in Sokeye and I can confirm that not less than 165 bags of rice were given to the needy in the community. This is the same community the man was lying about.
“And we are not the only one who got rice to share. CAN, youths, market women, traditionalists, Baales, the Obas, Hausa, Igbo, Igede communities the Isese, artisans and many other stakeholders also shared rice for people in Sokeye. We have never had it so good in the last 40 years that I have been there,” he affirmed.
Mr. Babalola Samuel Olakunle, who is the Chairman of the Community Development Council (CDC) covering Sokeye Estate, said not less than 2000 bags of rice were given to the CDC to be shared to the vulnerables in the various communities.
He added that the CDA chairman who did the video refused to be part of the efforts to distribute the palliative when contacted.
“The one bag of rice he displayed was specifically given to him for onward transmission to an identified vulnerable widow in his estate, not for the whole estate and he knew that.
He is being used by opposition politicians to tarnish the government. We know him very well and we can tell you his antecedents.
“Aside from the thousand of bags shared by the CDC part of which we got in Sokeye and other communities, the Muslim community, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), market association, youth groups, etc also collected bags of rice and shared for their needy members in the estate and other communities.
“How then can he claim only one bag was given to the whole estate? We find his online video mischievous and embarrassing. That is why we are here to profusely debunk it and apologise to the state government.
“We also think he should be made to explain his actions so as to prevent other people with the same motive from going the same way,” Babalola added.
Also, Chief Mrs. Kemi Ogunleye, the Iyaloja of the LGA, explained how market women were given 1000 bags of rice as palliatives.
“We shared it among out people and more than 60 bags were given to market women in Sokeye where that man lives. Just because the state government did not hand over all the rice to him to share as it used to be in the past, he is now spreading falsehood.
“He is angry because it is no longer business as usual,” she said.
In his own testimony, Chief Kasumu Jamiu Sonola, the Baale of Asese community and Chairman, Council of Baales in the local government, said he took delivery of 1000 bags of rice on behalf of the Council.
“We didn’t keep it for ourselves. We shared it for the needy in our various communities. All the Baales collected and took it to the poor people in their domains.
“Sokeye got its own share. So the man cannot be saying the truth. I personally ensured that it was given to the targeted beneficiaries,” he said.
Speaking on the development, Oba Taofeek Owolabi, the Olu of Obafe and Chairman of the Council of Obas in the LGA, lauded Governor Dapo Abiodun for ensuring the diligent distribution of the palliatives.
“This time around, the sharing of the palliatives was done in a manner that it got to the people who should benefit from it.
“I am surprised to hear about the video. It is unfortunate that some people wanted to rubbish a fantastic innovation. This is the best way to share the palliatives and I appreciate the governor and everybody involved.
“Even we Kabyesis got 500 bags of rice which we shared to our people. With the way the palliatives were shared, no well meaning person should complain. Governor Abiodun’s style is the best we have seen in Ogun State,” he explained.
Urging the public to disregard the content of the video, Chairman of Obafemi Owode LGA, Hon. Lanre Ogunsola Adesina said the committee put in place to oversee the sharing of the palliatives did a good job.
“We started the process with the composition of pallative distribution committee that was inaugurated at the local government secretariat on 26th September 2023.
“The members of the committee were drawn from the three zones made up the council area namely, Obafe, Owode and Oba zones with Kabiyesis, Baales, religious associations, youths, women, market associations, Community Development Associations, people with disabilities, security agencies and others ably represented.
“It is now unfortunate to see a viral video being presented by the CDA chairman to the public that a bag of rice was meant for the entire household in his estate. It is pertinent to say that the bag of rice shown in the viral video was meant to be sent to a vulnerable within the community through the CDA chairman.
“Several other members of the CDA in the area have gotten their own through Baales, market men/women, community development associations, christian association, Muslim association, youth council, people with disability and security agencies.
“A similar viral video earlier thrown to the public was later debunked by the CDA chairman who released it after he sought further clarification.
“This is why we suspected very strongly that the Sokeye CDA chairman may be out to intentionally work against the state government’s bid to reach out to the targeted vulnerables.
“After a careful look at the video, we wish to state that the action and statement of the CDA chairman is politically sponsored by the opposition.
“Please disregard the viral video as it is aimed as tarnishing the image of the performing governor, Prince (Dr)Dapo Abiodun (CON).