By Miracle Ogunde
Reports flying around the media that the leadership of the 10th National Assembly in Nigeria has bought SUVs for all lawmakers sparked serious reactions from different quarters in the country.
According to findings, each SUV was valued at N160m. If this is multiplied by the entire number of lawmakers at both chambers (i.e. upper and lower), it indicates that a huge sum of money was invested on the purchase of the vehicles which could have been invested in other critical sectors of the economy.
With the rise in inflation level and the swindling Nigeria’s economy, this shouldn’t have been the priority of our lawmakers at this crucial time?
It is disheartening that those elected to represent the good people of Nigeria as leaders are not in any way leading by good examples.
The leadership of the National Assembly had purchased 469 exotic vehicles, 109 for the senators and 360 for members of the House of Representatives. They claimed the purpose is to facilitate their jobs, particularly in relation to visiting difficult-to-reach terrains in their various constituencies.
But the question is, what happens to the vehicles after the end of their tenure? I am aware they do not return them but part of their take-home gift after the expiration of their tenure.
Like seriously, we have those who have been in the National Assembly between 8-16 years ago and yet they’ve got absolutely nothing to show for the years spent. Many are just sitting members who observe, sleep and collect allowances at the end of the month and go home with latest SUV at every political dispensation with no significant projects to show in their respective constituencies. No wonder they always want to remain permanent in the house, while some former governors see the national assembly as their retirement abode.
Despite the fact that many Nigerians are condemning the decision of the National Assembly to import the Special Utility Vehicles estimated at N57.6 billion, the Lawmakers did not budge.
The Committee Chairman on Senate Services, Senator Sunday Karimi, who justified the decision of the National Assembly, wondered why Nigerians are picking on the lawmakers when ministers drive four official cars.
His words, “Somebody that is a Minister has over three Land Cruisers, Prado and other vehicles and you are not asking them questions, why us? “These vehicles that you see, go to Nigeria roads today, if I go home once to my senatorial district, I come back spending a lot on my vehicles because our roads are bad. “I said the decision that we took on using a Land Cruiser is for the cost and durability. Before they came up with this, it was not the senators’ decisions alone; we did an analysis before arriving at land cruisers. “It was based on a comparative analysis of the cost of technical issues and durability on Nigeria roads,” he explained.
Why we also need to look at the extravagant lifestyles of the executive arm of government especially the appointed ministers who go about in Convoy with SUVs and other vehicles, I want to say that the justification by Senator Sunday for this audacious move at this time the country is battling with inflation and economy downturn is not tenable especially considering the prevailing financial quandary of the country.
In civilized countries, lawmakers do not live a flamboyant life. They make laws that better the lives of the common men, check the excesses of the executives, consider the plights of the masses. But in Nigeria, reverse is the case. Nigerian lawmakers are only interested in living big while those who elected them into political offices languish in abject poverty.
More annoying is the fact that they don’t even patronize locally made vehicles? Despite having many manufacturing car companies in the country such as Innoson motors and the likes, they chose to import foreign made cars. How can they legislate laws to encourage local manufacturers or foreigners to invest in the country’s economy when they’re obsessed with foreign made goods?
Then I ask, on whose side are the lawmakers? are they for the masses or against the masses?