By Rotimi Ojomoyela
EKITI—VICE-Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of overreaching himself on the Executive Order 10 that canvassed judicial and legislative autonomies for states.
Tambuwal, who is the governor of Sokoto State, noted that the NGF expected President Buhari to have consulted widely before issuing the order, saying exercising such powers unilaterally was tantamount to illegality.
He spoke during an Attorney-General’s Colloquium, organised by the Ekiti State Ministry of Justice Academy in honour of the retiring Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ayodeji Daramola.
Speaking on the topic ‘The Judicial Autonomy: Perspective of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum’, Tambuwal said Buhari was ill-advised in issuing the order that craved judicial autonomy for states, adding that such illegal voyage undermined the powers of the governors.
His words: “As Governors of the 36 states on the platform of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, let me state very clearly that we are unequivocally committed to the autonomy of the judiciary and the legislature.
“The recent misunderstanding on the financial autonomy of the Judiciary is predicated on the need to establish an implementation framework to the 4th Alteration of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Section 121(3). What we have questioned, and we have made this known at every opportunity, is the process of implementing this provision of the Constitution.
“As governors, we will be failing in our responsibility if we refuse to draw the attention of the President, stakeholders and the country to grave concerns about the constitutionality of Executive Order 10 of 2020. That was the basis of the position that we took on Executive Order 10.
“The Executive Order 10 ostensibly intended to support the implementation of judicial financial autonomy, was completely unnecessary and ill-advised. Let me at this juncture state clearly that we never questioned the right of Mr. President to issue Executive Orders. We only stated that Section 121(3) did not require Presidential Executive Fiat to become implementable.
“The agreement allows a period of 45 days for implementation structures to be put in place across states, including the enactment of a Fund Management Law, which will grant the Judiciary the power to manage its capital and recurrent expenditures in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
“Budgetary releases to the judiciary will be pro-rated based on the actual revenues recorded each month by the State government.”
Also lending his voice, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State stated that the issue of judicial and legislative autonomies is advantageous, noting that governors also have limitations based on constitutional provisions.
Fayemi said: “Who is to take capital spending for the judiciary and legislature has always been the controversy.
The governors will continue to hold our judiciary with reverence because I know that this democracy will not endure if we subject our judiciary to the jackboots of the executive.”
“There is no questioning the fact that we can do a lot more for our judiciary to make it truly independent.”