Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, spent N2.5 billion between October and December 2023 to buy ‘Government House vehicles’, a copy of the state budget performance report obtained by Newsmen has revealed.
Government House vehicles are official cars used by the governor, his wife, the deputy governor, his wife and their aides.
The report titled ‘Imo State Fourth Quarter (October – December) 2023 Budget Performance,’ was posted on the state government’s website.
The document shows that the Uzodimma spent N2,458,000,000 on the purchase of Government House vehicles without budgetary allocation in the 2023 budget approved by the Imo State House of Assembly.
According to the Nigerian constitution, spending by governors without the approval of the state lawmakers is extra-budgetary and illegal.
While nothing was budgeted and approved in the Imo 2023 budget for the purchase of Government House vehicles, the governor within three months violated the state’s appropriation law and spent N2.5 billion on the vehicles.
Another N2.3 billion was also spent by the governor on the Imo Security Organization without budgetary allocation and approval by the state assembly.
Uzodimma in November 2023 got reelected in an election characterised by vote-buying.
The election was roundly criticised and rejected by opposition parties – the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which adjudged the poll as suppressive, violent and rigged.
He was first declared governor of Imo State in January 2020 by the Supreme Court which nullified the declaration of Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP as the winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state.
The APC candidate had emerged fourth in the election, according to results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
However, the Supreme Court held that results from 388 polling units were not added for Uzodimma during the exercise.