Former member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh has said that National Assembly members, made up of 109 senators and 360 House of Representatives members, are not involved in the procurement of the controversial Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs).
According to him, the procurement has been the responsibility of the National Assembly Service Commission and other relevant bodies, even as he stressed that the vehicles are the properties of the National Assembly and not the individual member.
Speaking in a Live programme on TVC, Hon Eyiboh, who is currently the Special Adviser on media and publicity to the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, advised members of the public to raise eyebrow if they observe any sharp practices in the procurement processes, “and stop pointing accusing fingers at wrong people.”
He recalled that since 2003, the national assembly has been running an annual budget of N150 billion, and said that people always viewed the NASS budget as only concerning the 469 federal legislators.
According to him, the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, the National Institute of Research and the National Assembly Service Commission and other administrative staffers are “the institutes that handle bureaucratic services of the NASS.
“Whenever there’s need, they do requisition and follow their procurement standards.”
“No senator or member of the House of Representatives has ever been given money to buy vehicles and indeed, they have never bought vehicles.”
Eseme Eyiboh said that it is the bureaucratic arm of the the national assembly that does valuation of the vehicles at the expiration of tenures of lawmakers.
“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.”
He called on Nigerians to allow the federal legislators work unimpeded, encouraging individuals to proceed to doing audit, instead of using a generic approaches to describe what is not 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 said: “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 said that NASS budget include 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 said that there is hope for a scaling performance of the 10th Senate, adding that the Akpabio-led Senate would deploy enterprise enterprise development initiative to deliver renewed hope to Nigerians.