By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
Agitation for the financial autonomy of Nigeria legislature and judiciary may have been accepted by the executive branch of government if the words of Sokoto state Governor Aminu Tambuwal are anything to go by.
Governor Tambuwal on Friday in Abuja, assured that the 36 state governors have given their backing to financial autonomy for state legislators and judiciary.
The Governor who gave the assurance after leading the Chairman of States Legislators Conference to meet with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that modalities for the implementation of the financial autonomy would be finalized Thursday next week.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting on why the delegation was at the State House, Tambuwal, who was a former Speaker of the House of Representatives said the meeting was on the instruction of President Muhammedu Buhari.
He said, “We are here to meet the Chief of Staff on the instruction of Mr. President and you can see that the leadership of the Speakers Conference of the States of the Federation is here ably led by the Chairman.
“It’s all about Order 10 which has to do with the independence, financial autonomy of the legislature and the judiciary at the State level.
“So it’s a continuous meeting and we are going to meet next week Thursday when we hope to finalize on the framework and modalities of implementing the autonomy of the state legislature and the judicial.”
Fielding question on the controversy over the payment of N30,000 minimum wage as some states were yet to implement it, he said, “Well our Chairman (Chairman, Nigeria’s Governors Forum) and the team of governors forum are meeting with the labour, I don’t want to preempt that meeting please.
“The business of governors is to ensure that there is harmony in the country.”
President Buhari had on May 23, 2020, signed an Executive Order which grants the legislature and judiciary financial independent from the executive in the States.
The President carried out the action based on the power vested in him as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Section 5 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended), which extends to the execution and maintenance of the Constitution, laws made by the National Assembly (including but not limited to Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended), which guarantee financial autonomy of the state legislature and state judiciary,” the statement said.
The new Executive Order provides that “The Accountant-General of the Federation shall by this order and any other such orders, regulations or guidelines as may be issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, authorise the deduction from source in the course of Federation Accounts Allocation from the money allocated to any state of the federation that fails to release allocation meant for the state legislature and state judiciary in line with the financial autonomy guaranteed by Section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.”
The State Governors have been in control of the finances of the legislature and judiciary, which serves as a tool to control and forcefully coerce the two other equal arms of government.