The Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, has rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s financial autonomy granted to state legislatures and judiciary, saying that they needed to be allowed to work out their own modalities.
Recall that on May 22, Mr Buhari had signed an Executive Order granting financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary in the 36 states of the federation.
Reacting to the development, state governors under the auspices of the NGF headed by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, disclosed that they would convoke an emergency meeting to deliberate on the President’s action.
Hours after the meeting, one of the governors who spoke with The Nation in confidence, disclosed the resolution of the governors, saying that Mr Kayode had been nominated to meet with the President and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to relate the concerns of the governors.
According to the governor, the NGF faulted the approach of the president, saying it was unnecessary and unconstitutional.
“We mandated the NGF chairman, Dr Kayode Fayemi to have an audience with the President and Malami to avoid recourse to legal tussle on the interpretation of Section 121 (3) of the 1999 constitution,” the newspaper quoted a governor from the north-central as saying.
“We prefer dialogue to confrontation because we consider Executive Order 10 as unnecessary and an over-kill of the existing constitutional provision. You can see that in the last few days, AGF Malami has been trying to justify EO 10.
“And the NGF chairman on Thursday had closed door sessions with the President, where all the defects in EO 10 were spelt out.
“In another meeting with Malami on Thursday, the two parties agreed that some of the autonomy modalities were constitutionally flawed. The session reviewed the reservations of the governors.
“There will be a follow up with the AGF and minister of justice by the NGF legal committee comprising the governors of Sokoto, Plateau and Ondo states.”
“For a federating nation, there are so many extraneous clauses in EO 10 which are in conflict with the 1999 Constitution,” another governor was quoted to have said.
“For instance, Section 7 7(a) of the order made provision for a Presidential Implementation Committee to ensure compliance.
“For instance, in some states, there is already appropriation law for the state legislature and the Judiciary. Of what use is this E0 10 then?
“In most states, we have a joint account allocation committee. Are we saying that EO 10 is superior to a state’s law enacted by the house of assembly?
“Instead of rushing to issue EO 10, the appropriate thing for the Federal Government is to sit down with the governors and agree on autonomy modalities in line with Section 121(3) of the constitution.”