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Nine serving state governors have so far squandered millions of naira to charter private jets to move around the country to advance their 2023 presidential ambitions.
According to Daily Trust, this is ahead of the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP where the presidential aspirants including the nine serving governors have been travelling across the 36 states and FCT to woo delegates.
There are 38 presidential aspirants in both APC and PDP including the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, among others.
While all the aspirants have been travelling across the country in chartered aircraft, the spending of the nine serving governors has attracted public attention and scrutiny.
The governors, who are aspiring for the presidency, include Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom), Ben Ayade (Cross River), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa) and Yahaya Bello (Kogi).
Of the nine governors, only Bala Mohammed is serving his first term, the rest are completing their second term in office.
Reports revealed that government activities are being relegated to the background in some of the states as the governors are preoccupied with their presidential campaigns amid allegations that they are using state resources.
At the moment, a private jet charter costs between $7,000 (over N4million at 580/$) to $10,000 (N5.8million) per hour depending on the size of the plane.
An operator says it could be higher when one requests for a bigger luxury jet, which could carry up to 11 passengers like Challenger or Beechcraft Hawker with up to 13 passengers’ capacity.
In addition, a charter Embraer ERJ 145 for instance, with a 50-passenger capacity, could even cost more depending on the number of waiting hours at the destination airport.
Also, it was gathered that in line with the industry requirement, the private jet operators charge 3,000 dollars per hour, depending on the airline after landing at the airport.
“If it is a two-leg trip – to and fro, you will pay 3,000 dollars per hour as landing and parking charges. It would start reading after the first three hours. The charges vary from airlines,” an aviation expert said.
Analysis of reported trips of the governors as at yesterday showed that Governor Wike has visited 20 states including Kaduna, Edo, Kogi, Lagos, Katsina, Kano, Ekiti, Ondo and Cross River all by air using private jets.
It is however not clear whether he is chattering the planes or using those belonging to Rivers State.
The Rivers State governor who is eyeing the presidential ticket of the PDP has also visited Ebonyi, Adamawa, Plateau, Anambra, Niger, Imo, Ogun, Oyo, Bayelsa, Benue and Kebbi states using private jets.
Like his Rivers State counterpart, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State has visited 20 states.
Tambuwal, who is also eyeing the PDP presidential ticket has been to Taraba, Borno, Yobe, Kogi, Niger, Gombe, Kaduna and Zamfara States.
The Sokoto governor has also flown to Plateau, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Kogi, FCT, Ogun and Osun States.
On his part, the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has visited 16 states in the course of his presidential campaigns. Fayemi, who chairs the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), wants to pick the presidential ticket of the APC.
The states visited by Fayemi are; Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Kano, Nasarawa, Benue, Kebbi, Sokoto, Rivers, Anambra, Ogun, Osun and Ondo.
Coming next to Fayemi, is the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed. Unlike Fayemi, Mohammed is eyeing the ticket of the PDP. Despite the fact that he is a first term governor, he is deeply engrossed in his presidential ambition.
States visited by the Bauchi governor, who is said to have also picked the governorship forms of the PDP include; FCT, Anambra, Enugu, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Oyo, Kaduna, Niger, Jigawa, Taraba and Katsina.
So far, the Akwa Ibom Governor, Emmanuel Udom, has visited six states including Plateau, Katsina, Edo, Oyo, Cross River and Gombe. He is one of the 15 contenders cleared for the PDP presidential primaries.
Meanwhile, Daily Trust could not establish the number of trips embarked upon by the Cross River, Jigawa, Kogi and Ebonyi States governors.