Sunday Aborisade and Leke Baiyewu
The purchase of exotic vehicles for Senate and House of Representatives presiding officers and principal officers is expected to be high on the agenda of both chambers when they resume from their break in September, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.
The National Assembly will also buy vehicles for committee chairmen and their deputies.
Meanwhile, the Senate is already considering the purchase of Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs for its 109 members at an estimated cost of about N50m each.
This is because there are 69 standing committees, automatically making a senator either a presiding officer, principal officer, chairman or deputy chairman of a committee.
It is estimated that the upper chamber will require about over N5.5bn for the vehicles including the additional ones for the presiding and principal officers.
Attempts to speak with the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, failed on Friday as he had travelled out of the country.
However, the management through the Director of Information, Rawlings Agada, said no action had been taken on the issue because members of the federal parliament were their annual vacation.
“The request will pass through the tender board and the process will be done in a transparent manner,” Agada said.
As of Thursday, the House of Representatives seemed not to have taken a decision on members’ official cars.
The Committee on House Services meant to work with the National Assembly management on the procurement of cars and others for lawmakers’ offices had yet to meet.
Vice-Chairman of the Committee on House Services, Mr Ayuba Badamasi, who was contacted by one of our correspondents on the procurements ahead of resumption, decried a paucity of fund.
He said, “We have not started anything yet, perhaps this week. The major challenge that we are facing now is the money.”
A ranking member of the House, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a decision on the cars might be delayed.
It was learnt that the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, was not in the country as of Thursday.
The lawmaker said, “I know that every Assembly is provided vehicles for members, which are called committee cars for oversight functions.
“I am not aware of our own yet, probably when we resume, we will know something about the cars. Hopefully, it will be after resumption for us to know the position of things.”
When reminded that the Senate had concluded on the brand and cost, the lawmaker said, “Senators are few, it is easy to handle the Senate. But the House with 360 members, it is difficult.”
He said the leadership of the House would determine the brand of vehicles to acquire.
Meanwhile,our correspondents visited offices of some members of the federal legislature on Thursday and observed that office equipment and electronics had yet to be supplied.
A senior legislative aide to one of the lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, complained that only a desktop computer and a portable printer which his boss provided for the secretary was being used by everybody in the office.