Ohanaeze opposes N5b vehicles for National Assembly members

• We’re working for Nigerians, says Lawan
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has opposed the move by the leadership of the National Assembly to procure operational vehicles worth N5.5 billion for members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

It wondered why official cars purchased in the recent past could not be refurbished for the sitting lawmakers.

In a statement yesterday in Enugu by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Chuks Ibegbu, Ohanaeze noted that the move had lent credence to the widely held belief that Nigeria runs the costliest legislature in the world.

The group expressed dismay over the development, querying where would this ‘extravagance’ lead the country when millions of citizens are hungry and live in abject poverty. It submitted that the country had remained one of the least productive nations based on its staggering unemployment figure.

“The other time, they shared billions for salaries and allowances and thereafter went on recess. We are in real trouble with this kind of legislature we imposed on ourselves. Countries in dire need of survival have refrained from ostentatious living, but in our own case, we have insisted that the scarce resources will always belong to the rich,” Ibegbu said.

He pleaded with the federal lawmakers to be patriotic and represent the masses well, explaining that the failure to live up to their calling was partly responsible for the mess in the country.

The spokesman added: “They abandon their duties and are only interested in committees to head, overseas tours and perks of office. We cannot continue to behave like people without the interest of the country at heart. We should work to get our priorities right and discourage the idea that politics is about making wealth and not for service.”

To reduce cost of governance, Ohanaeze suggested a part-time legislature with Senate of not more than 37 members and a House of Reps of 74 members, while there should not be more than 10 legislatures and 10 commissioners in the states.

Besides, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said with the recent constitution of its standing committees, the ninth National Assembly was poised to work for Nigerians.

A statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, quoted Lawan as making the pledge to reporters on returning from the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja yesterday.

He was received by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Mohammed Karage, alongside Senators Barau Jibrin and Opeyemi Bamidele.