Members of the Anambra State House of Assembly have reportedly rejected Toyota Prado Jeep which the state government was said to be planning to distribute to them for effective discharge of their oversight functions, preferring instead, the locally manufactured Innoson Jeep so as to save cost.
The lawmakers were said to have argued that the purchase of Toyota Prado Jeeps to the tune of almost N1billion was an unnecessary waste of funds when a similar vehicle produced by Innoson Motors Limited, Nnewi, would cost much less.
According to the lawmakers, Anambra State government should toe the line of other governors of the South East and South–South zones that have been patronizing the local car manufacturing company, adding that it was improper for Governor Willie Obiano to be patronizing dealers of foreign vehicles when Innoson Motors was located in his state.
The chief press secretary to the speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly Mr. Emma Madu, however, said yesterday that he was not aware of any planned car gift to the lawmakers.
But the chairman of South East conference of 2019 APC House of Assembly candidates, an umbrella of those who contested this year’s general election on the platform of the party, Mr. Afam Ezenwafor said they had it in good authority that the state government had concluded plans to purchase the Prado Jeeps for the state lawmakers.
Ezenwafor said: “The market price for 2018 model of Prado Jeep for the 30 members of the state Assembly is about N33 million each and I wonder why about N1 billion of Anambra State fund should be taken outside the shores of this country, instead of using it to purchase Innoson IVM SUV Jeeps for the House members at a much lower cost.
“We cannot be talking of ‘Aku lue uno’ (Support for local industry), without patronizing our local investors. In fact, the Speaker of the House, Mr. Uche Okafor should stop the planned purchase of SUV Prado Jeeps and ask the governor to rather get Innoson Jeeps for them.”
He also urged the South-East governors to make it mandatory for all commissioners, House of Assembly members, local government chairmen, permanent secretaries, head of agencies and all other government officials to use Innoson as their official cars, adding that it would reduce high demands for foreign exchange for the purchase of vehicles.
Ezenwafor recalled that former Governor Peter Obi bought over 500 pieces of Innoson vehicles during his administration for the vigilante services, schools and local government councils in the state, arguing that such a thing was worthy of emulation.
He also commended Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State who, he said, purchased over 100 Hilux pickups from Innoson Motors for the security agencies in the state.
“We can only grow our local economy and encourage think- home investment when our leaders patronize local contents,” Ezenwafor further said.