I am a resident of FCT who lives in Garki and works as an estate developer. It might interest you to note that I have watched with keen interest, palliative items distribution exercise to the six Area Councils in the territory vis-a-vis other states of the federation to cushion the COVID-19 restrictions.
In truth, when the Minister of State for FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, flagged off the palliative distribution on April 17, 2020, at the Art and Culture Theatre, Area 10, Garki Abuja, many residents of the territory, including the writer took her words, but with a pinch of salt. I thought it was the usual way of playing politics with everything in Nigeria. But with the passage of each day, the exercise keeps improving except in Bwari Area Council, where the administration recorded pockets of violence that led to the death of one person.
Honourable minister, I was particularly impressed by your stern warning to those entrusted with the distribution of the palliative and you made bold to place a curse on anyone who diverts the palliative items meant for the less-privileged in the society.
In case you have forgotten, during the flag off, you said: “ If you compromise, posterity will judge you. You must stand for your people and make sure that they are served.
“I beg you in the name of God, if you eat this food, you are indirectly inviting coronavirus to your homes. I swear, if you are not eligible and you divert these items, you will eat coronavirus. It is not food for campaign and not for you to do charity for your family members”.
These words are straight from the heart of a mother who cares about the vulnerable ones and also a clear demonstration of transparency and accountability in service. It is worthy to note that despite the fact that the first phase of palliative distribution has ended, in keeping to your promise of reaching out to all stakeholders, the administration has continued to dole out palliatives to other segments of the society.
Beside the vulnerables, other stakeholders that have benefited from the FCT palliatives, including but not limited to civil society organisations (CSOs), FCT Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Fulani Socio-Cultural Group, Bwari Rehabilitation Centre, widows of military personnel in barracks, Abuja indigenous youths among others.
Honourable minister, despite the challenges encountered during the exercise, I have no doubt in my mind that history and posterity will be kind to your legacy. And I take responsibility for arriving at this hasty conclusion. In all, I thank you very sincerely for changing the narratives in governance.
Comrade Victor Omale, Garki, Abuja