Ekweremadu’s Dubious Defence of Vehicle PurchaseBabs Ajayi, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Saturday, January 9th, 2016
By Babs Ajayi
BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The current National Assembly is heavily anti-change and pro-corruption. Most of them are stuck in the past and still prefer the way things were during the David Mark-led Senate years, a free-for-all and grabby time. The Assembly has budgeted billions of naira to pamper themselves in 2016. It has become a yearly practice for the senate and the lower house to vote billions for everything from exotic cars, local and foreign travels, allowances for fictitious aids and assistants, and several other indulgencies most of them can never afford and will never pay for from their own pocket. Imagine the leaders of the Senate went on solidarity trips to the code of conduct tribunal with the senate president that was facing corruption charges. Just last week President Buhari exposed the plan of the Assembly to spend N 5 billion on the purchase of vehicles and pleaded with Nigerians to prevail on their insensitive representatives not to waste the nation’s dwindling resources on cars. Cars are the toys these big boys cannot do without, cannot afford, but will buy with the taxpayers’ money. Living off the people is what they do best.
The leadership of the National Assembly is already waging a war of calumny against the president. Some of them are pointing to the budget requests for the presidency and Aso Rock as a reason to justify their own wasteful ways. If the reason the National Assembly wants to abuse funds and indulge themselves is because they feel one branch of government is also trying to “enjoy” state funds, then they are a bunch of unserious, selfish people. Does it not make sense for the Senate and House of Representatives to protect the nation’s resources rather than finding excuses to live off the people because they think and feel that the executive arm is doing the same? Are they not at the Assembly to as the check and counter-check of the executive? The issue took a grotesque turn when the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekwerenmadu told the media in Umunumo, Imo State that it was the foreign exchange rate that should be blamed for the huge amount voted for vehicle procurement by the National Assembly. Mr. Ekwerenmadu described the plan to spend N5 billion on cars as “a necessary expenditure”! Is he serious and for real at this time when the price of crude oil is falling rapidly and with serious consequences on the nation’s budget? I smell greed and self-service here.
What happened to the vehicles the National Assembly bought in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015? Are these vehicles currently in the fleet of the Assembly for the use of the various house and senate committees no longer serviceable? Can the legislature account for the whereabouts of all the vehicles bought since 2010? I am sure its fleet should be long enough to line the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway – and on both sides. Why must these insensitive people continue to squander the meagre and dwindling resources of our nation in an annual car purchase bonanza? Mr. Ekwerenmadu alone, according to report, has a fleet of about 10 cars each time he is on the road.
To make matters worse and further insult Nigerians, Ekwerenmadu added that “It is not a crime to buy vehicles for the use of Senate committees….” Misusing and abusing state funds/assets is a crime and it is a crime to waste the nation’s resources and to spend billions of naira on cars every year – a deliberate squandering of our commonwealth.
Does this guy have any shame at all? Must the Senate and the House buy cars every year? Nigerians have been complaining about the National Assembly’s annual car purchasing habit by a very ineffective legislative arm of government for years. It is also immoral, selfish and greedy to abuse state funds for selfish ends. Nigeria’s senators and legislators personally ensure that they are overpaid, over indulged, and financially reckless to fulfil their personal greed. Most of them are in the Senate and the House because looting was allowed and legislated until now. The likes of Ekwerenmadu don’t belong in the Senate like so many others there. It is shameful that he is there. Is Ekwerenmadu aware that the nation is going to be borrowing billions to fund part of the budget? Must the nation continue to spend and waste money she does not have? While the likes of Goodluck Jonathan, the former king kleptocrat facilitated looting, the likes of Ekwerenmadu are enablers in the forefront of recklessness and abuse of state funds.
Babs Ajayi. Babsajayi@yahoo.com @babs_ajayi
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