In case you were wondering what stringent measures the Nigerian House of Representatives have initiated in light of the global pandemic that has begun to spread in Nigeria, look no further. They have taken it upon themselves, to go ahead with their plan to purchase 400 luxury vehicles for themselves as ‘official’ cars. Reports from the Punch NG confirm that the senators, in spite of a national lockdown that barred international flights from entering or leaving the country have somehow managed to receive and begin to disburse the first batch of 2020 Toyota Camrys.
It would be good to recall at this point, that when it was first announced that the House of Representatives were considering purchasing these luxury vehicles, there was significant pushback from Nigerians online and offline, who considered the idea wasteful, considering these same politicians received official vehicles in 2016, 2018 and 2019. The House of Representatives pretended to postpone the matter till a further date, then went ahead to sign off on purchasing the vehicles anyway in a closed door executive session on the 5th of February 2020. A month plus later, yet here we are in the middle of pandemic with no money to address the pandemic or offer palliative measures to the poor who will be affected by it. We are in the middle of a global epidemic, our healthcare is in shambles and state governments are enforcing lockdowns. Where exactly do our house of representatives intend to drive these cars to if their states are under state sanctioned quarantine.
What makes this even worse is that not only will legislators be given these luxury vehicles, they will also be given to special assistants and advisors of the legislators. Why are we so wasteful in this country? Why are our leaders so given to avarice?
We hope this finally puts to rest the naive assumption that Nigerian politicians will somehow suddenly change because the country is facing a health crisis that could have been mitigated if the government invested in healthcare and basic amenities as much as they stole and embezzled. The pandemic has already significantly affected the political class, with a governor, many senators and the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, already infected with the virus and struggling to overcome it. If this is not enough for the House of Representatives to ask for a refund and divert that money towards more useful causes, there is nothing else that will make them change.