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N160 million SUVs: Eyiboh closes arguments, exonerates lawmakers

The delivery of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) to members of the national assembly in Nigeria may have sparked outrageous comments from various quarters. But the the Special Adviser to the President of the Senate, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh has laid the whole issue to rest, unveiling truth about it.

In a live interview on TVC News, Eseme Eyiboh dissected the facts surrounding the matter, saying none of the 109 senators or the 360 members of the House of Representatives are involved in the procurement of the vehicles.

He recalled that since 2003, the national assembly has been running an annual budget of N150 billion.

Noting that people always viewed the NASS budget as only concerning the 469 federal legislators, the former spokesman of the House of Representatives explained that there were the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, the National Institute of Research and the National Assembly Service Commission, and other administrative staffers.

“No senator or member of the House of Representatives has ever been given money to buy vehicles and indeed, they have never bought vehicles.

“These institutes handle bu​reau​crat​ic services of the NASS. Whenever there’s need, they do requisition and follow their procurement standards”, he said.

Stressing that the vehicles were the properties of the national assembly meant to aide the performance of the legislator’s oversight functions, Eyiboh maintained that it was the bureaucratic arm of the the national assembly that does valuation of the vehicles at the expiration of tenures of lawmakers.

He said, “Obviously, they are always given the right of first refusal. In the event that a lawmaker doesn’t have the money to pay at the valued rate, the vehicle is being sold out. So this shows that it doesn’t belong to the lawmakers.

Calling on Nigerians to allow the federal legislators work unimpeded, he encouraged individuals proceed to doing audit, instead of using a generic approaches to describe what wasn’t true.

“We should be able to encourage the federal lawmakers, just as we encourage the state lawmakers and the members of the federal executive council.

“If anyone feels that there is an infringement or sharp practices in the way the procurement of the vehicles were carried out, then they should take proper steps towards uncovering it. One must understand that the vehicle issue has never been directly connected to the lawmakers.

“The lawmakers have never participated in the requisition, or the tender, or the qualification or payment. No lawmaker participates in each of these processes as it is purely administrative issues within the beaurocratic arms of the legislature.

Asked why the lawmakers do not go for locally made vehicles to boost Nigeria’s economy, Eyiboh has this to say: I’m sure you are aware of the Extant Procurement Act. Truth is, in every competitive bidding, there’s no weaver. Such biddings have a technical evaluation and a financial evaluation which collectively take so many things into consideration.

I have said here that one thing about the national assembly is that they have not been able to inform as much as they perform. But you can’t blame them because as a beaurocratic mix, there is this civil service mentality that you can only be seen but not heard.”

Hon Eyiboh pointed out that NASS budget included the salaries and wages of the civil servants, such as the permanent secretaries; the director-general, professors and lecturers of the Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, and other staffers of the National Assembly Service Commission.

Eseme Eyiboh who said there was hope for a scaling performance of the 10th Senate concluded that the Akpabio led Senate would deploy enterprise enterprise development initiative to deliver renewed hope to Nigerians.

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