Ekiti State has announced that it would provide clothes for 10,000 indigent children for this year’s Christmas.
But the All Progressives Congress in the state has described the announcement as a ploy by the state governor, Ayodele Fayose, to defraud the state.
A statement signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, on Sunday, said at least 10,000 indigent children in Ekiti State would be provided Christmas dress made from ankara and other materials.
He said the governor dropped the hint while meeting with the association of tailors in Ado Ekiti.
The sewing and distribution of the clothes are expected to take place in designated centres across the 16 local government areas of the state.
The governor also promised to buy 100 sewing machines to complement those to be used by volunteer tailors during the exercise.
The machines, he said, would later be given out to tailors through a transparent balloting process.
“When we were young, we always looked forward to the Christmas and New Year festivities that at least our parents would buy clothes for us,” Mr. Fayose was quoted by the statement.
“But with the prevailing economic situation in the country, some parents may not be able to do that and we felt we can help to bridge such gap.
“The exercise is part of our Stomach Infrastructure Programme and we have to take care of the needs of our people and make them happy.
“Also, it is a kind of financial empowerment for our people as we are buying all the materials here. We are also going to give the volunteer tailors some stipends during the exercise.
“At the end of the exercise, some of the tailors will go home with sewing machines. In Ado-Ekiti, we are projecting to have five centres and maybe two in Ikere and one each in other local government areas.”
Mr. Fayose said only children between the ages of one to 10 years would benefit from the exercise and that it would be on a first-come-first-served basis.
But the APC described the governor’s “unsolicited show of love” as a conduit to defraud the state, saying the clothes would be purchased with more than half of the actual cost ending in private pockets.
The Publicity Secretary of the party, Taiwo Olatunbosun, in a statement, said the party scoffed at the governor’s plan, noting that it was “another fraudulent game to loot the treasury.
“It is sheer greed, wickedness and callous insensitivity to Ekiti people’s plights for Fayose to refuse to address doctors’ strike in the public hospitals over unpaid salaries while other workers remain unpaid for between six and nine months but he is planning and talking of buying Christmas clothes for 10,000 Ekiti children just because he wants to make money from such unsolicited show of love while tens of hundreds of Ekiti indigenes, old and young, are dying in Ekiti hospitals for lack of medical services as a result of the governor’s insensitivity to the immediate needs of our people over non-payment of doctors and civil servants’ salaries and pensioners,” he said.
“From our observation of Fayose’s greed and callousness, he is behaving as if he will not exist tomorrow and so he does not owe anybody anything and so does not care about what becomes of his image or what happens to the lives of the people he leads.
“It is high time Ekiti people, workers and labour leaders opened their eyes and minds to Fayose’s deliberate deceits before majority of our people end in their early graves.
“Fayose should pay the salaries, pensions and gratuities of the parents of those children he is planning to buy Christmas clothes for to allow them perform their parental roles instead of the governor buying cheap cloths at exorbitant costs, more than half of which will end up in private pocket as we had during NULGE and Teachers’ Day celebrations.
“The workers and pensioners know their responsibilities as parents to their children if the eight to nine months salary and pensions arrears are paid.”