Dozens of people in Ajegunle queued under Monday’s hot, scorching sun to receive food material, soaps, and clothing from Rita Orji, the member representing Ajeromi Ifelodun, Lagos State, at the House of Representatives.
The House member, who drove in a convoy to all the wards that make up his constituency, threw local fabrics (known an ankara) into the waiting crowd as the people shoved and slapped themselves for the material.
“It’s just like a touch of kindness on the people that voted for you,” said Mrs. Orji, a lawyer and the Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora.
“We are trying to change the attitude of the electorates coming to beg their representatives for something. Rather, we are changing it to be the rep going to the communities to see how the people you are representing fare and show a sign of appreciation. We are trying to go away from the original known precedent. ”
The convoy snaked through crowded streets, and sometimes, bumpy roads as it made its way to several destinations to distribute the largesse.
Mrs. Orji frequently climbed atop the truck conveying the foodstuffs, cartons of soaps, and clothing among others to address the crowd who had gathered to collect the items.
“I told you I will do this for you if you vote me in, now I’m back to fulfil my promise,” she said as she cupped her hand to wipe off a stream of sweat and make-up from her face.
Later, she told journalists that the distribution of largesse to constituents had been a quarterly practice since she was elected.
“Quarterly, we make sure that we touch lives, not just food. We have 100 people that are learning (skills acquisition) already, that will be graduating by June, and as you are graduating, you will be receiving what will lead to establish it.
“It’s not just acquiring skills without utilizing, we are having that already and we do it in batches.”
A resident in the community, Grace Imota, said the canned tomatoes she received was “a welcome development”.
“Things are very hard now and anything we can get from the government will go a long way,” said Mrs. Imota, a resident of Osho Drive in Ajegunle.
Fatai Oluwa, a House of Assembly member representing Ajermoi Ifelodun Constituency 2, said the distribution of gifts was an “all comers affair”.
“When we were campaigning we didn’t tell them we will only do for PDP members. There is no PDP there is no APC,” said Mr. Oluwa.
“When we were campaigning to the people that elected us, we pledged to them, after voting us in, that we are coming back to give them some packages.
“We promised to give a lot of jobs, boreholes, empowerment programmes, skills acquisition. And we made them understand that anytime we are having any festive period, we will all come out and enjoy with them.