The decision of the members of Anambra State House of Assembly, to turn down the proposal of purchase of Prado Jeeps at the cost of N1 billion has received a lot of encomiums.
It was reported that Anambra State Governor, Willie Obianor, had planned to give the cars to the lawmakers as gift.
But the members of the state assembly opted for Innoson Vehicles instead, saying it would save cost and add vigor to the economy.
The South East and South-South Governments had agreed in an economic summit, to patronize locally made goods in order to augment the economy of the zones. In line with this agreement and the need to save cost, the lawmakers have taken their stand.
Their decision to go Innoson has been praised as it resonates with principles of good leadership set out by the preceding Governor Peter Obi. It also serves as an example in a country where such traits are rare.
A week ago, the news broke that the National Assembly is proposing N5.5 billion for cars. A development that has stirred outrage among the people because the same government is crying lack of fund to implement the basic infrastructures needed in the country.
The criticism that trailed the announcement did not deter the lawmakers, neither did the obvious infrastructural decays gaining momentum on the daily. In fact, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said it is an insult to the senate that Nigerians are complaining about such a huge sum. After all, the cars are going to be used in the interest of the country.
All these are taking place at a time when Nigeria’s foreign debt is at $25.6 billion, and the external debt is over $21.04, and the Government is in talks with the World Bank for a fresh $2.5 billion loan. The over N13.5 million running cost per a lawmaker in the National Assembly is taking over 25 percent of the annual budget. And basic infrastructural amenities are at the receiving end of the brute spikes.
Nigerians are urging the National Assembly to learn from Anambra lawmakers in cutting the cost of governance and putting the country first. If at all there is a justifiable reason to spend such a whopping sum on vehicles, local producers should be patronized to boost the economy.
The 8th senate was famous for its slogan, “Buy Naija to grow the Naira,” invented to encourage patronage of locally made goods and services. It is clear that unlike in many other commodities, the Nigerian Government is not going to ban foreign made vehicles in order to promote locally made ones.
Nigerians have thus urged the governments, especially the National Assembly to set a patriotic example by buying from Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing, or enact a law making governments’ patronage of local producers compulsory.