Governors Spend Billions On Cars For Lawmakers

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Many state governors have spent billions of naira to purchase exotic vehicles of different foreign brands for members of the state houses of assembly despite the economic downturn in the country, Daily Trust can report.

Analyses by Daily Trust indicated that nine states have expended over N15bn on different brands of vehicles mostly for lawmakers in the current political dispensation.

Kano

Recently, the Kano State Governor, Abba Kabiru Yusuf, gave N2.7 billion worth of exotic vehicles to the members of the state assembly, some of whom have already taken delivery of the sports utility vehicles (SUVs) valued at N68 million each.

The Kano Assembly is made up of 25 members from the governor’s New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and 14 from the All Progressives Congress (APC), with the election of one yet to be decided.

Lawmakers get SUVs in Benue

All the 32 members of the Benue State House of Assembly have taken delivery of their SUVs purchased for them by Governor Hyacinth Alia.

Each of the vehicle is said to cost about N60  million.

Gombe

In Gombe State, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, on December 30, 2023 presented 41 brand new SUVs to all the 24 members of the state assembly and 17 commissioners. It was learnt that each of the 41 GAC Motor ‘All New GS4’ vehicles  cost about N33.5 million.

Governor Yahaya said the vehicles were purchased to help the lawmakers carry out their oversight functions and effectively participate in governance

Kogi State

In Kogi State, the former Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello presented 40 SUVs and four Hilux vans to the state’s lawmakers and judges on December 22, 2023. That was about one month before he left office.

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The speaker of the state assembly, Umar Yusuf, got an SUV and two supporting cars, including a Toyota Hilux van; while his deputy, the majority leader and 22 other members got one each.

When contacted, some of the lawmakers did not disclose how much the vehicles gulped; while the Commissioner for Information, Kinsley Fanwo, did not reply to a text message sent to his mobile telephone line.

Ondo

The late former governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, last August presented vehicles manufactured by JAC Motors, to the 26 members of the state assembly “to ease” their duties. Sources at the Government House told Daily Trust that each of the cars cost N19 million.

Two Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs valued at N106 million each were also purchased for Speaker Olamide Oladiji and Deputy Speaker Abayomi Akinrutan.

Ebonyi

The governor of Ebonyi state, Francis Nwifuru, purchased VXR Land Cruiser Prado Jeeps for all the 24 members of the state assembly.

It was gathered that each of the car costs around N51 million.

Kebbi State

Governor Nasir Idris of Kebbi State, few months ago, distributed Toyota Jeeps to the 24 members of the state assembly.

A top government official in the state told our correspondent that the vehicles were valued at over N1.9 billion.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ahmed Idris, told Daily Trust that the vehicles were procured for the government officials to carry out their duties efficiently.

 Osun State

The Osun State Government distributed new Fortuner brand cars for all the 26 members of the state assembly this year.

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The cost of the cars could not be ascertained as government officials spoken to declined comment.

Niger

In Niger State, 25 of the 27 members of the state assembly got Prado Jeep each from Governor Mohammed Bago; while the speaker and his deputy reportedly got Land Cruiser Jeep.

Each of the Prado Jeeps was said to have been purchased for about N70 million.

Delta

Delta State Governor Sheriff Oborevwori earlier this month gifted members of the National Assembly from the state with cars to aid them in the course of their national assignment.

After taking delivery of his own car, the chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Rules and Business, Francis Ejiroghene Waive, described Oborevwori as Delta State.

‘It’s misplacement of priority’

A former chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Bayo Ogunleye described the endless purchase of cars as misplacement of priority.

He however stated that the state lawmakers were only taking after their colleagues in the National Assembly who have also purchased different exotic cars.

According to him, since the federal government can’t be stopped from purchasing vehicles, it would be difficult to convince the states against buying such expensive vehicles.

“All the so-called elected people have become unconcerned about the plight of the people. Look at the situation in the country, people are hungry, prices of food items are high and yet you are buying expensive vehicles for lawmakers.”

CSOs speak out

Senior Communications Officer, Yiaga Africa, Mark Amaza, in an interview with Daily Trust, said considering the economic situation of Nigeria, spending “so much on a small group of people does not convey concern for the plight of their constituents.”

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“The second is that such a gift from the governor to the legislators does not only signify the lack of financial autonomy of the house, but also begs the question: will the same legislators then be able to hold the executive accountable and provide the check and balance that is expected of them?”

Executive Director, Cleen Foundation, Gad Peter, said gifting cars to lawmakers and other government officials had become a “ritual, a tradition, a norm in Nigeria for the executive.

“We saw this same conversation when the National Assembly came with its own proposal. When you talk, they say they need those cars to go to their communities, that the roads are not good. But why don’t you make the roads more motorable and spend less?

“So, if we invest this money in capital project, we’re getting this infrastructure working.”

Also speaking to Daily Trust, Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Ibrahim Zikirullahi, noted that the Federal government did same despite public opposition, lamenting that “the height of insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary citizen is alarming, especially with the federal government’s proposed minimum wage.”


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