Since the return to civil democratic governance under the presidential system in 1999, there has been no government deliberate law or action that is as welcome, gladdening, heartwarming, cherished and popularly accepted and appreciated by the generality of Nigerian citizens especially the real patriots, politicians and the electorate as the recent Executive Order No 10 of 2020 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, ensuring implementation of financial autonomy of the legislative and judicial arms of the government, a bill that has added pass mark to the Buhari administration. Earlier, the same President Buhari had authorized council autonomy by ensuring direct allocation to 774 of them.
Hitherto the return of democracy in 1999, it has been a herculean, arduous or near impossible task for the successive government to implement that country’s section of constitution as the state executive seized or rather usurped the financial autonomy of these two very vital organs of government thus forcing Heads of the Judiciary and Speakers of various legislative houses to go cap in hand to execute for financial responsibilities thereby making them appendages and willing tools of the state executive. As it is, he who pays the piper dictates the tune. Judges could not pass judgments that would not favour the state executives or else they will be denied their entitlements, hence the miscarriage of justice.
No speaker of any State House of Assembly would stand to go against the bidding of the state governor else he will be impeached using bought over majority legislators with the same denied funds accruable to them. In turn, the legislators could hardly execute their individual constituency projects or perform their collective oversight functions for fear of incurring the wrath of their governors.
A case in hand was the scenario of the 8th Imo Assembly led by Speaker Acho Ihim under the loathsome, tyrannical rule of irreparable Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who could have expected the speaker and the House never to perform better than a rubber stamp.
This new Executive Order has as one would say, released these institutions from bondage now giving them leverage to air their views, express popular feelings, wishes and demands of their constituents, who they have their legal mandate to represent. This Presidential Order if truly and justly implemented guarantees the people the right to vote for appropriate persons to represent, speak and act for them and not necessarily one wealthy person who might have at one time or the other, stolen or looted from the common purse in order to hijack power.
We raise caps up and say Bravo to President Muhammadu Buhari, who has done this. With Buhari’s assent, the legislative and judiciary arms of government in the 36 states of the federation will no longer wait on state governors for funds or align to the voracious greed of the exploitive or ambitious political gladiators for paltry monetary rewards against the citizen of the state that elected them.
So far, President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Executive Order for the implementation of financial autonomy for the state legislatures and going by the provision of the Order in the event of the failure of any state government to release allocation meant for its state legislature or the judiciary, the Accountant General of the Federation will have the power to deduct from source all such allocations due to such states in the Federation Accounts and pay the funds directly into such official bank accounts of the arm of government concerned, what a welcome development indeed.
This new Executive Order expects states without appropriation law on financial autonomy of state legislature and state legislature to do so now and subject to section (8.1) of this Order, implementation of the provision, the implementation committee in accordance with its recommendations. The new Executive Order takes effects from the 20 day of May, 2020 and the populace are eager to expect its fruitful result before the end of the year.
Let this Presidential Order not go the way of similar orders gazzetted to Direct Allocations to the local government area which reports have it were abused by the sacked Emeka Ihedioha administration with impunity and recklessness.