In response to a surge of public interest, the House of Representatives has shed light on the rationale behind the allocation of operational vehicles to honourable members. This move, rooted in established procurement practices, is set to fortify members’ oversight functions and extend their reach to constituents.
The National Assembly bureaucracy is presently in the process of acquiring and distributing these vehicles, a practice that has been consistently applied in previous assemblies. This allocation is not exclusive to the Legislature, as it echoes a similar provision for unelected government officials in the Executive arm, particularly those holding positions at the Director level and above.
A key clarification is that the vehicles earmarked for honourable members are utility operational vehicles intricately linked to their oversight functions within the standing committees. These are not personal gifts, but rather essential tools for the execution of their official duties.
Throughout the tenure of the 10th Assembly (2023 – 2027), these vehicles will remain the property of the National Assembly. Nevertheless, once the 10th Assembly concludes in 2027, members will have the option to purchase the vehicles from government coffers, subject to existing asset deboarding policies. Otherwise, they will remain assets of the National Assembly.
A pivotal emphasis of the 10th Assembly is the commitment to upholding integrity and independence by maintaining a significant distance from the Executive arm. This extends to logistical aspects of oversight functions, ensuring the capacity to reach even the most challenging terrains in the country for the purpose of effective representation of Nigerian citizens.
The House of Representatives underscored its dedication to cost-effective governance, pointing to a downward trend in the percentage of the Legislature’s budget within the national budget over the last decade. Presently standing at 0.5% of the Federal budget, this reflects a conscientious effort to balance expenses in light of inflation and the expanding role of honourable members in citizens’ lives.
In view of these developments, the House urges stakeholders to channel their focus towards constructive discussions regarding governance expenditure. This is to prevent unnecessary disaffection towards honourable members who are resolute in fulfilling their duties with integrity and diligence, without succumbing to inducements due to operational limitations.
The House reiterated that the vehicles allocated are utilitarian tools, not symbols of status. Honourable Members are committed and patriotic elected representatives, dedicated to serving the Nigerian people. These vehicles are indispensable for enhancing representation, outreach, and oversight functions.