Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 presidential election, Peter Obi has condemned what he said amounted to extravagant spending for federal lawmakers in the country to spend N60 billion on Sports Utility Vehicles and SUVs.
He said it was wasteful spending which was unconscionable for lawmakers to spend such a huge sum on vehicles to subsidise their lives at the expense of the majority of Nigerians.
The former Anambra State Governor stated this on Thursday in a statement he signed pointing out that one-third of the money would have been spent on auto companies in the country that would have led to job creation.
“The recent expenditure of N60 billion for the purchase of SUVs for about 400 legislators is a continuation of the troubling trend in our nation today,” said Obi the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 elections.
“We have continued to abandon the critical areas of development measurement while expending scarce resources on needless luxury and creating comforts for those elected to serve the people,” he said.
He pointed out that, “Our primary healthcare, which is the foundation of health, a critical development index measure, has collapsed, leading to our surpassing India, a country 7 times our population, in infant mortality, a very saddening situation.
“To allocate such a huge amount, which is more than what we allocated to our primary health care, is nothing but troubling.
“One third of that amount, with proper negotiation, would have given them locally manufactured SUV vehicles from Innoson Motors, PAN or any local auto assembly plant, to help boost our economy and create and retain jobs,” the former governor said.
As a personal lesson, Obi reminisced that, “Upon my being sworn in as the then Governor of Anambra State, I observed that our State High Court Judges, State Government Permanent Secretaries and newly appointed State Commissioners had no vehicles.
“Anambra State Government had then ordered for two bulletproof SUV vehicles for my use.
“I cancelled the order and used the same money to negotiate a concessionary pricing with Peugeot Automobiles to supply us with Sixty 406 vehicles which were enough for all the cabinet members including myself and my deputy governor.
“We used the vehicles for our first tenure and were able to commence the work of doing more in the areas of health, education and lifting people out of poverty,” Obi said.
He added, “Nobody would contemplate this kind of expenditure under my administration.
“I urge all involved to depart from this path of wastage of public resources.
“A more prudent and transparent Nigeria is possible,” Obi said.