Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has said the issuance of Executive Order 10 by President Muhammadu Buhari is unnecessary and ill-advised considering the intractable impasse over the financial autonomy of the judicial arm of government in the country.
Mr Tambuwal made this known Wednesday in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti state capital, where he delivered a speech at the Special Attorney-General Colloquium in honor of Justice Ayodeji Simon Daramola, the Chief Judge of Ekiti state.
This is contained in a statement issued on Wednesday by the governor’s special adviser on media, Muhammad Bello.
According to the governor, the current impasse could be resolved without recourse to the implementation of the order, which ‘constitutionality’ is unclear.
Mr Tambuwal, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, said as governors, “we never questioned the right of Mr President to issue Executive Orders.
“We only stated that S.121(3) did not require Presidential Executive Fiat to become implementable.
“Provisions of the Constitution are self-exciting and S.121(3) is not an exception. Any governor who refuses or neglects to enforce these provisions would be in clear violation of his oath of office. S.121(3) requires only administrative measures to be implemented,” Tambuwal explained.
He enumerated some portions of Executive Order #10 that the Governors took exception to as: authorisation to the Accountant General of the Federation to deduct money without having recourse to Court, prescription of what allocation should fall under a First Line Charge, dictation to a State how it should organise its governance and its processes, legislative and otherwise; prescription of the establishment of a State Judiciary Budget Committee; and, usurpation, by Mr. President, of the directive addressed to the House of Assembly of a State by Section 5 of the Constitution.
The remaining are: unlawful interference in the governance of States by the Presidential directive to make special extraordinary capital allocations for the Judiciary, payment of recurrent expenditure, including the salaries of Judges and Khadis, by the Federal Government, stifling of States seeking the means of implementing S. 121(3); and, that Executive Order #10 does not take into cognizance that the fiscal environment at the Federal level is different from what obtains at the State level, much as it also give little attention to the question of legacy loans inherited from preceding administrations and ways to manage this.
Calling for the ‘highest scrutiny’ of the Order, in order to “uphold the federal principle which forms a fundamental feature of our Constitution,” Mr Tambuwal posited that this was “the basis for our engagements with relevant stakeholders at various levels as well as our participation in the Technical Committee, which was constituted to explore how to implement financial autonomy granted by 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 the Executive Order #10,” he stated.