The plan by Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose to buy Christmas clothes for 10,000 children has drawn the ire of the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The party wondered why the governor is embarking on the year-end gesture when his administration owes workers months of arrears.
It described the move as another plan to make money from the impoverished masses.
APC noted that over half of the actual cost could end up in some private pockets.
The party urged the public to be wary of another gimmick to defraud them.
But the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) warned the APC to mind its business.
The ruling party said the opposition’s criticism of the governor’s love for children showed it as “anti-people, myopic and unfriendly”.
Fayose announced that he will buy Christmas clothes for 10,000 children “as a mark of showing Ekiti children love to partake in the sharing of the state’s wealth”.
A statement yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, the capital, by APC Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, noted that rather than buy Christmas clothes for 10,000 children, the governor should pay their parents.
The party said this would bring relief to families wallowing in poverty and want.
It said: “It is high time Ekiti people, workers and labour leaders opened their eyes and minds to Fayose’s deliberate deceit before majority of our people end up in early graves.
“Fayose should pay salaries, pensions and gratuities of parents of those children he is planning to buy Christmas clothes for, to enable them perform their parental roles, instead of the governor buying cheap clothes at exorbitant costs, more than half of which will end up in private pockets, as we had during National Union of Local Government Employees (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.”
It added: “It is sheer greed, wickedness and callous insensitivity to Ekiti people’s plight for Fayose to refuse to address doctors’ strike in 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.
“Fayose is doing this 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.”
PDP’s Publicity Secretary Jackson Adebayo said APC’s latest attack showed its hatred for Ekiti residents, whose lives the ruling party said were being positively touched by Fayose’s policies.
He said: “Nobody should be surprised by their criticism of the governor’s gesture of love, which is unprecedented in the history of the state, and that was why the people rejected them at the 2014 governorship election where they lost woefully.
“Governor Fayose is a friend of the masses. This is one of the ways to prove that he is the man of the people and the people will continue to love him and vote for the PDP while APC will continue to fail and fail and fail.”