Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra State heaved a sigh of relief when leaders of their parties in the state distributed relief materials to them recently.
Following the gradual spread of the novel coronavirus, codenamed COVID-19, in some parts of the country, the state government imposed restriction orders, which were targeted at ensuring that the dreaded disease does not come into the state.
Part of the measures, according to a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, was the total shutdown of all the 63 major markets in the state.
Schools, from primary to tertiary levels, were also closed even as civil servants were ordered to work from home. The schools and markets, according to him, were to be opened when the time was ripe.
The restriction, though intended for good, has harsh effects. From available reports, hunger has ever been spreading in the state as many people who source their livelihoods from the markets and other business concerns experience difficulty meeting daily obligations.
The restriction order was tightened when the state recorded its index case of the deadly virus with a total lockdown directed by the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano. In his special broadcast, he announced that the lockdown would last for two weeks.
But to cushion the harsh effects of the various restriction orders of government, the two political parties, at different occasions, commenced the distribution of relief materials to their members.
On its part, APGA distributed various food items and sanitary materials to all its members in the 326 political wards in the state.
State chairman of the party, Sir Norbert Obi, said the aim was to cushion the harsh effects of the restriction orders, which were targeted at preventing the further spread of the deadly virus in the state.
Some of the items included 11,700 bags of rice of different kilogrammes – 5,000 bags of 10kg; 6,500 bags of 5kg and 200 bags of 50kg. Others were: 2,140 cartons of noodles and 326 bags of beans.
Other items were 16,000 bottles of hand sanitizers of varying sizes. These included 5,000 bottles of 60ml; 1,000 bottles of 250ml and 10,000 bottles of 50ml.
According to Obi, the items would be equitably distributed, not only to APGA members but the generality of Ndi Anambra and other residents of the state in the 326 wards across the 21 local government areas of the state.
He added that the physically challenged in the state would be regarded as one ward and given due share of the relief materials, thereby jerking the number of wards up to 327.
“I charge the local government party chairmen, ward chairmen and executives and all party members to diligently perform this task of sharing these items equitably to achieve the expected target,” he instructed.
Obi disclosed that the national chairman of the party, Dr. Victor Oye, had set up an 11-man committee, which he (Obi) leads, to provide protective medical materials and foodstuff to APGA members and Ndi Anambra across party lines.
“The 11-man committee is charged with the responsibility to ensure that the relief materials get to the grassroots of the party in all the wards,” he said.
The state party chairman commended those who have assisted the state government in its effort to get the state adequately prepared to tackle the fearsome virus if it eventually finds its way into the state.
“I commend all the well-meaning individuals and organisations that have responded to the passionate call for assistance by the state government at this time of great need.
“APGA is eternally grateful to you for your selflessness and unrelenting sacrifices towards the provision of palliative measures for the wellbeing of our people at this critical period of our lives,” he said.
On its part, the APC also distributed foodstuff and sanitary materials to its members in the state.
Managing director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief George Moghalu, donated the relief materials and other items to the party for onward distribution to indigent people in the state.
Some of the items, including 2,240 bags of rice, 1,850 cartons of noodles, sanitary buckets and others, Daily Sun gathered, were donated to the party through Moghalu’s foundation, Zimuzo Development Foundation.
Handing over the materials to the acting chairman of the party in the state, Basil Ejidike, the director-general of the foundation, Rev. Ukadike Ibeabuchi, who stood in for the donor, said that the materials were to help cushion the harsh effects of coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.
He said Moghalu was moved by the challenges that the people were facing, especially in the area of feeding following various restriction orders issued by the government and which were targeted at preventing the spread of the virus in the state.
“The local government chairmen of the party are here and they will take their own shares to their various local governments and from there they now go to the wards. From there, the grassroots people will receive their own items,” Ibeabuchi stated.
In his speech, Ejidike thanked Moghalu for donating the items to the party, even as he assured him that it would be properly distributed to the people.
“What he has provided is not just for the party members but for the members of the public, for the people of Anambra State. We thank him so much. From what we have on record, this is the first time an aspirant is providing all these items through the party. We must be very fair about it,” Ejidike said.