Despite dwindling resources and falling revenues, Nigerian Governors are spending billions of naira to hire private jets to meet up with their lavish lifestyle.
According to investigations carried out by Daily Trust, only a few of the governors use commercial flights for their trips across the country, while many of them pay for extravagant chartered aircraft.
It was further discovered that while some of the trips were official engagements, others mainly for private engagements.
IMPACT OF COVID-19
Coming on the heels of the negative impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic where many governments and countries are battling with limited resources, most of the wastage of funds are carried out by governors of states that are in dire financial situations, and can hardly pay salaries.
Again, even in the middle of lockdown last year, state governors embarked on interstate trips, mostly by chartered private jets. This was in clear violation of a ban to that effect, which they had agreed on as a measure to mitigate community transmission of the virus.
Specifically on Monday, June 1, 2020, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, wastefully flew into Abuja to visit President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, just to formally inform him of his intention to seek re-election for a second term.
On that same day, the chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, PGF, and governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, led six of his colleagues to Abuja to meet with the then Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee, NWC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on what was believed to be a last-minute effort to save Obaseki’s candidacy ahead of the party’s primary election in Edo.
While it was alleged that some of these trips were hinged on security matters, it was gathered that they were undertaken through chartered private jets costing hundreds of millions of naira.
REFUSING TO LIVE LAVISHLY
In the current dispensation, it is hard to find governors flying public airlines. Even their convoys are luxurious and mostly unnecessary.
Meanwhile, not all Nigerian politicians are guilty of living extravagantly. One of such is former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, who is a billionaire, yet lives a humble and moderate-cost life.
A simple man known to be very strict with his expenditures, Obi inherited Next International Nigeria Ltd, one of the top companies in Nigeria worth over $500 million, from his parent.
NIGERIA’S CURRENT FINANCIAL SITUATION
In a bid to underscore the current financial financial situation in the country, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, last week wrote to the Accountant-General of the Federation, warning that it would not be able to make remittances to the Federation Account in April for distribution to the federal, state and local governments in May because it needed to defray about N112billion cost of February’s subsidy on petrol.
Also, recent checks at the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, used for charter operations at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and the private hangars at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, revealed that governors still patronise private jets.
At the Lagos airport, private hangers were busy when visited recently, and many of those who patronised them were said to be governors who had one engagement or another in the state.
It was also gathered that most of the governors who patronise the private jet operators now go to the airports in vehicles without number plates, obviously to conceal their identity.