By Jonathan Elendu
The National Assembly Complex which houses the Senate and House of Representatives is an edifice that occupies a floor area of about 40,000m².
The contract for the construction of the Complex was awarded by the Abacha administration through the FCDA on February 18, 1996, to ITB Nigeria, according to Wikipedia.
The cost of the contract then was N7billion or $35.18million. Construction of the Complex was completed in 1999 shortly before the commencement of the 4th Republic.
In 2020, the National Assembly approved a budget of N37b for the renovation of the complex. Nigerians across the country were aghast at what was considered a profligate and callous expenditure by the legislative arm of government.
However, such profligacy is customary for a body that is seen by Nigerians as doing nothing to impact the general wellbeing of ordinary people.
The National Assembly is known to spend billions of naira to purchase exotic cars for members and management staff even when the monetization policy of the government mandates that they are given money to buy personal cars.
The expenditure of the National Assembly does not take cognizance of the fact that the plight of Nigerians has worsened in the past ten years due to the downturn in the economy caused by dwindling revenue from crude oil and insecurity.
To date, the salaries of members of the National Assembly are not known by Nigerians. While perks of office of the legislators are known, it is mired in complicated and convoluted calculations that even chattered accountants struggle to explain.
The legislators themselves do not know how much they earn. Ask ten members of the Senate and House of Representatives what they earn and you will get ten different figures.
The leaking roof of the National Assembly complex is a metaphor for the current state of governance in Nigeria.
Some may argue that it reflects the true state of the average Nigerian: teary eyes.