By Iteveh Ekpokpobe
Many Deltans will not partake in the luxury of a lavish Christmas today, but the ruling class in Delta State is sure of their largesse.
Documents intercepted by The Union Nigeria show that about N300 million was earmarked to buy bags of rice and hampers for the bigwigs in the state.
In the face of this, lawmakers of the Delta State House of Assembly are disgruntled over the N2,500,000 million Christmas package they each received from the State Government.
Contained in three separate memos, signed by the Secretary to State Government, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, N150,925,000 million was approved for procurement of Christmas gift to Prominent Deltans, N110,250,000 million for Local government councils, and N28,190,000 million for dignitaries and prominent Deltans in Lagos and Abuja.
The memos dated 11 September, 2020 carried file numbers SDG.339/T/370, SDG.339/T5B/14 and tracking number 23237980 respectively.
Distribution of the gifts items alone to the various leaders as stated in the memos is pegged at N10,450,000 million when summed.
Efforts to reach the Chief Press Secretary to Governor, Mr. Olise Ifejika proved abortive at Press time.
He did not respond to call placed to his phone.
Meanwhile, lawmakers of the Delta State House of Assembly are not at heart ease over what they termed marginalization by the state executive.
A lawmaker who confided in The Union Nigeria, lamented that the members feel relegated as the N2,500,000 million given to them by the state government would not be enough to ‘touch the lives’ of their constituents in the spirit of the yuletide.
He said, in all, ‘a miserable N75,000,000’ million was given to the house while the executive were ‘cashing out in their various ministries’.
The Chief Press Secretary to Speaker, Mr. Dennis Out when contacted said, he was not aware of any Christmas package like that distributed to lawmakers.
He said, “Is that story meant to divide the house? I am just hearing it from you. Stories like that are just meant to divide the polity. I am not aware they shared anything.”
Deltans Lament as Cost of Rice, Poultry Skyrocket
While lawmakers are fuming, Deltans are lamenting over the increase in price of rice and poultry.
Mrs. Uche Nneka a business woman who spoke our correspondent in Asaba, said the price of a broiler has multiplied within the last two days. “What was selling for N2,500 is now sold for N10,000 to N12,000 naira. Who can afford that? Meanwhile a bag of rice is now over N30,000 naira. Our hope is for Christmas to come and go.”
Mrs Uche is not alone, Mr Isaac Ubi, a father of four children based in Warri, said the situation was so critical that his hope was hinged on survival and not celebrating the Christmas.
According to him, “there is no money; meanwhile the prices of goods have gone up. As far as I am concerned, let me just provide food for my family and not party for Christmas.”