By Babatunde Ayedoju
Ondo State Government has assured that the N10,000 unconditional cash transfer for 18,000 selected vulnerable people in the state would be fairly distributed.
The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs. Bamidele Ademola-Olateju gave this assurance at the maiden edition of the State Media Agenda organised by the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) .
It would be recalled that recently, among other measures, the Ondo State Government promised to give N10,000 to 18,000 selected vulnerable people in all the local government area from August to December 2023 and free shuttle buses for students from resumption in September to December 31, 2023.
Olateju assured that the state has a reliable parameter for identifying vulnerable people in the state, stating that the register of vulnerable people was generated through enumerators hired by World Bank and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) some years back.
Speaking about why the state government chose to bring back the free school shuttle buses that had been abandoned for long, she said that it is necessary for the government to come up with easier and faster measures to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal on masses in the state.
She said, “We are all feeling the heat of the effect of the subsidy removal but what can we do now to cushion the pain of citizens. It is easier to fix these buses than to keep waiting for delivery from manufacturers of vehicles. It is easier and faster to put them to use for the benefits of our people.”
Olateju said the list of the recently created 33 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), from the 18 Local Government Area of the state would not be made public until the law creating them was passed by the state House of Assembly and gazetted.
She clarified that the state Assembly could still thinker with the LCDAs delegation and areas, hence the need to keep it secret.
Her words: “You know, people will leak information but it’s inappropriate. LCDAs have been approved by the executives, we all took oath of secrecy while taking this job and I think we should express fidelity to the oath we’ve taken. I don’t know who leaked it but I condemn it and I say it is inappropriate.
“We have three arms of government. When the executive has decided, it has to be ratified by the House of Assembly. So, giving it to the press was wrong. That is preemptive of the House of Assembly. The House can still thinker with the delegation, the areas.
Earlier in her address, Mrs. Ademola-Olateju commended members of the pen community, saying that the press had been very supportive of the Ondo State Government since the inception of the current administration.
In his opening address, Chairman of NUJ Ondo State Council, Prince Leke Adegbite, stated that the Ondo State Media Agenda was organised as a forum to hold public office holders accountable to the public, adding that more state government officials would be engaged subsequently.