Adamawa splashes N300m on 21Prado SUVs for council chiefs
•Acting governor defends purchase
The administration of the Adamawa State Acting Governor, Umaru Fintiri, has spent over N300 million on Prado Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for 21 local government chairmen barely a month in office.
Each local government chairman was allegedly given N5 million cash for what a government source described as rate for the initial servicing of the SUVs.
The “curious gifts” were coming barely two weeks after the local government chairmen defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The same Acting Governor, who splashed cash on the council chairmen, will today inaugurate a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into alleged mismanagement of funds by the immediate past administration of former Governor Murtala Nyako.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the 21 Chairmen were given the SUVs at the Government House in Yola after a PDP stakeholders’ meeting last Friday.
Some of the chairmen, especially those without potable water in their areas, were said to be “moody” when the SUVs were handed over to them.
Findings in one of the respected auto marts in the country showed that a brand new Prado SUV is between N9.3 million and N11 million depending on taste.
A fairly used Prado SUV is within the price range of N7.1million and N8.5million based on preferred choice.
It was learnt that many of the stakeholders were shocked when the chairmen, who came to the session mostly in Peugeot 406, were “transformed” into SUVs unsolicited.
Although the acting governor, through his Director of Press, Solomon Kumanga, admitted that the SUVs were bought to enable the local chiefs to traverse the state’s difficult terrain, investigation confirmed that it was for political motive.
It was learnt that the car gifts were meant to compensate the chairmen for defecting to PDP; secure their support for the Acting Governor, who is lobbying to remain in office to complete Nyako’s tenure and to back the re-election bid of President Goodluck Jonathan.
One of the stakeholders, who spoke in confidence, said: “This is certainly a misplacement of priority. We did not bargain for this after the exit of Nyako.
“Why will an acting governor rush to go and buy Prado SUVs for local government area chairmen or why will he approve such for these office holders? Why should the purchase of SUVs be the first significant decision this new administration will take? I hope we are not moving from frying pan to fire.
“During Nyako’s period, only negligible public officers were using Prado SUVs. For a state without enough funds, why SUVs? I think those behind the impeachment of Nyako in Abuja should call the acting governor to order.
“I knew at the stakeholders’ session, some of these chairmen supported moves by some people for Fintiri to continue in office to complete the tenure of Nyako.
“They are saying Nyako mismanaged funds, but what do you make of this type of reckless spending now?”
Some of the local government chairmen confirmed that they were given SUVs and cash on Friday at the Government House.
One of them said: “We did not really complain about cars, but the state government deemed it fit to give us the SUVs to ease our movement.”
Kumanga, while confirming the distribution of the SUVs to the chairmen, was quick to add that the funds used for the purchase of the SUVs came from the Joint Account of the Local Governments in the state and not the purse of the state government.
He also said the chairmen agreed to buy the SUVs at their Joint Account meeting recently.
Kumanga, who took a little break to clarify things with his boss before responding to our correspondent, said: “The plan to buy the SUVs had been in the offing long before the administration of the Acting Governor came on board.
“The chairmen agreed at their Joint Account meeting and they wanted the vehicles to be bought for them. The vehicles were bought from their own Joint Account and not from the coffers of the state government.
“They opted for SUVs at their Joint Account meeting because of the difficult terrain of the state.
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