The members, House of Representative on 20 February 2020 in a closed door executive sitting approved the purchase of 400 exotic “utility cars.”
The first batch of these order is now been received amid COVID-19 pandemic leading to economic downturn whose impact on the Nigerian citizenry calls for palliative measures to reduce the burden especially on average Nigerian who are unable to make earnings as a result of the shutdown.
The branded 2020 V6 limited edition Toyota cars ordered have an estimated value ranging from $25,000-%35,000.
These cars are exclusively owned by the National Assembly procured for the use of members. However, it is common knowledge that the cars are often auctioned and sold to the legislators at giveaway prices after the expiration of their tenure.
These cars are expected to be shared between the 360 members as well as top management staffs which includes presiding officers and committee chairmen.
These procurement for members are definitely dividends of democracy for the politicians; however our concerns lies with the masses, who voted for these individuals. Are the masses or constituencies enjoying similar share of the democracy?
We had sought response to this question from Hon. Tasir Wale Raji representing Epe Federal Constituency and Chairman, Committee on House service who had shared the address of his constituency office via his Twitter account on the 23 February 2020 but unfortunately could not be reached. While effort to get a response off him through his social media pages also proved abortive.
Whether or not these cars are deserving is not just the question, but the fact that it is quite insensitive and highly irresponsible of leaders to take delivery of exotic cars at a moment like this and to the detriment of the people they supposedly represent.
Speaking to one of the senior legislative aides (who pleaded anonymity) of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila; he reckoned that the timing for delivery was wrong but opines that, delaying delivery of the vehicles could incur financial cost to the house of representatives. Hence the need to take the cars in at this time.
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila recently held a destination birthday party for his 80 year old mother in Dubai worth a whooping sum. We wonder if this adds value to the Nigeria tourism sector, his number one constituency.
The House of Representatives passed a bill on 25 March 2020 which sought relief in form of tax waiver for companies to reduce the effect of COVID-19 on workers. It must be noted however, that the emergency relief is in sharp contrast to what is obtainable in civilised clime as it majorly protects the elites or rich people who owned companies rather than the millions of Nigerians who cannot feed their families or make ends meet now and beyond.
It is believed that hunger may kill more Nigerians than the pandemic situation.
TellAfrica shall keep you posted……