Common argument among current legislators is that four-year-old exotic vehicles do not befit “honourable members”. Law makers elected to represent Nigerians at the national level deserve some element of comfort, no doubt. In case they have to attend to constitutional assignments or what they call oversight functions, a pool bus might not be ideal, as the lawmakers may not always travel to the same location at the same time. Sound argument.
What is not sound, however, is to tell Nigerians that four-year-old Toyota Lancruiser Prado SUVs, numbering over 400 or whatever brand the vehicles might be, would have degenerated in value so much that they would have been scrapped. That doesn’t make sense at all. For tarrif charged on four-year-old cars imported into Nigeria are same as brand new ones. In other words, four-year-old vehicles are virtually new. It is even newer, because it was not only used in Nigeria; it was attached to a government functionary. It was a government vehicle, which means it would have been maintained in accordance with manufacturers’ specification. The present legislators’ argument does not hold water at all, I dare to say. Let each of them talk to Nigerians. If not that they were all privileged to hold legislative position, would they regard a four-year-old Toyota LandCruiser PRADO as a too old vehicle? How many of them could afford to buy one from honest assignments?
Even if they are too sophisticated to ride in four-year-old vehicles, what became of the ones used by the former lawmakers? It was alleged at certain quarters that the former legislators simply took them away. Others said they were sold to the legislators at next-to-nothing prices. What became of the cars? Where are they? EFCC needs to comb into this.
Secondly, this is a change regime. All hands are expected to be on deck to buou our economy. But the lawmakers do not seem to live in the same world as other Nigerians. Otherwise, must anyone tell them before they know that all government vehicles should be procured from Nigerian assemblers?
If hey insist on buying new cars, they they must be Nigerian assembled vehicle. And after their term in office, the vehicles should be handed over, just as a British Prime Minister would hand over his official jaguar and ride home in his or her personal vehicle or train or taxi. What is the matter with our leaders in this part of the world? Why are they so wasteful? Four-year-old well maintained Landcruiser Prado too old for a lawmaker? That’s ridiculous.
Anyway, the judiciary need to do their check and balances job on our legislative body, making them to account or enquire for the location of the old over 400 exotic vehicles, so that they can be sold and proceeds from them be used to subsidise payment for new vehicles. After all President Goodluck Jonathan left his official car in office. And new President is using it.
They need to tell Nigerians the truth: Where are those cars? What happened to almost 2000 exotic vehicles bought for legislators and advisers in the past 16 years? Or shall we limit our search to the last eight years? Could it be true that former legislators took over their official vehicles as part of retirement benefits?
What about those who had done two terms as legislators? Could it be that every official vehicle used during their terms in office are confiscated in private garages, as being alleged at certain quarters? If those cars were truly taken away by the legislators, who used them, they might have criminal cases to answer. The EFCC might be having another over 400 witches to hunt. Seriously, I think EFCC needs to at a point dim its searchlight on this area, if the new lawmakers wagging tongues for new automotive-toys wouldn’t.