By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
In a bid to get President Muhammadu Buhari to throw his weight behind the implementation of the financial autonomy of state legislature and the judiciary, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal has taken the case to State House, Abuja.
Tambuwal, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, led Chairman and leadership of the Speakers Conference; Solicitor General of the Federation, and SSA to Mr. President on Niger Delta (Affairs) who has been a member of the Technical Committee on the implementation of the autonomy of state legislature and the judiciary to meet with the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari on Thursday.
He spoke to State House Correspondents after the meeting and the interactions with journalists went thus:
What brought you to the Villa, sir?
“Well, thank you very much. We’re here with the Chairman and leadership of the Speakers Conference. The Solicitor General of the Federation, and SSA to Mr. President on Niger Delta (Affairs) who has been a member of the Technical Committee on the implementation of the autonomy of state legislature and the judiciary, together with the Chief of Staff to Mr. President have just finished a meeting on how to put finishing touches and dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, on the final implementation of the financial autonomy of a state legislature and the judiciary.
“We have made reasonable progress and we have agreed, after receiving the final report of the Technical Committee to meet on Monday, because of the urgency of the matter, and finally, resolve whatever issues are there”.
When are you expecting the strike to be called off?
“We’ve have just finished talking to the Speakers, and indeed the state of judges, and the judiciary to continue to engage and the minister of labor is also engaging with the striking bodies to appeal to them, to appreciate the fact that we have made progress. And then they should call off strike. We’re appealing to them in the interest of this country, they should call off the strike.
It is said that this is an issue that shouldn’t have dragged for so long, what exactly is the problem that has made it so difficult?
“Well, I can assure you that all of us are committed to building institutions, particularly our parliaments and the judiciary in our respective states, as governors democratically elected, and will do whatever it takes to make sure that whatever issues are resolved. As I told you before, some of it constitutional. And then what matters that have to do with the constitution, you have to be sure of what you’re doing that you’re actually following the Constitution.
“I think the key question many Nigerians are asking is that are the governors in support of financial autonomy?
“From the very beginning, during the 8th Assembly, under the leadership of Bukola Saraki and Deputy Speaker to Dogara, the governors’ forum under Abdulaziz Yari then, met with them and supported the financial autonomy for the state legislature and the judiciary. And that is why with that support, we were able to achieve the passage of this amendment by the National Assembly and the state legislature across the country.
“So the governors are unequivocally in support of the autonomy of these institutions.
If you have achieved amendments in the Constitution, then why do you need the President to go with an Executive Order rather than you know, the Constitution itself?
“Well, it was in the wisdom of Mr. President to constitute that committee which has been constituted and I am not in a position to just question the wisdom of Mr. President on that”.