The latest fleet of senators’ cars show how Nigeria does not necessarily need an implemented budget to move things along.
Aside from the fact that the Nigerian Senate is in the controversial process of receiving 108 Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs (2016 models) for each and every one of its senators – minus its president – it is reported that at N35.1 million, each of these cars were purchased for more than twice their original cost price.
The purchase was commissioned in 2015 by Senate President Bukola Saraki, who came under under a fair amount of condemnation for recently attempting to replace the cars in his convoy in the current economic situation in Nigeria. Naturally, the extravagant decision of the senate was met with national criticism, with prominent Nigerians calling it disgraceful, selfish, and callous amongst other unflattering labels.
Apparently, however, the backlash did not deter the government officials from seeing their order through. As a matter of fact, in February, the Senate President defended the purchase of the cars as a necessary expenditure, stating that the vehicles inherited from the previous administration could no longer serve the senate’s needs well enough.
Also, around the same time, the senate went from initially denying the claims of extravagance to maintaining that they were frugal and responsible with their spending and the car purchase was simply a necessary expense that could not be avoided. In their opinion, it would be ridiculous to expect senators to trek to their various constituencies to discharge their duties, especially since Special Advisers in the country use similar cars as their official vehicles as well.
Last Wednesday, 36 cars from the 108 ordered arrived and have been distributed throughout the 36 states in Nigeria, as members of the senate await the remaining, which are still in transit. The good news appears to be that Nigerians can now expect topnotch delivery of duties from the Nigerian Senate in the coming days owing to the arrival of their new tools.
Another fascinating issue is one that Nigerians, such as Barrister Audu Bulama Bukarti and former Kaduna State Governor Balarabe Musa, have raised following confirmation that such an expense is being undertaken by the Nigerian Senate. Judging by the fact that the Nigerian Senate recently complained that a lack of funding is inhibiting them from functioning as expected and the government is yet to agree on the 2016 National Budget or pass it into law, where did the money come from?
Bukarti’s verdict is that our senators do not care about us, what we think about them, or how and what we feel as Nigerians, living with today’s economic situation. There are currently 108 reasons why he’s more than correct.