Tambuwal: Governors Support Financial Autonomy for State Legislature, Judiciary

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Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has disclosed that the governors of the 36 states in the country were in total support of financial autonomy for the legislative and judicial arms at the state level.

Tambuwal, who spoke with newsmen at the State House in Abuja yesterday, at the end of a closed-door meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, also hinted that modalities for the implementation of the financial autonomy would be sorted out next Thursday by the state governors.

The Sokoto State governor, who was in the company of his Plateau State counterpart, Simon Lalong and Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle explained that their meeting with the CoS was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari.

His words: “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 finalise on the framework and modalities of implementing the autonomy of the state legislature and the judiciary.”

The governors had before now been accused of frustrating efforts to grant financial autonomy to state legislators and state judiciary, but Governor Tambuwal explained that the governors were in support of financial autonomy for the state lawmakers and that there was no impediment towards the implementation of the President’s Executive Order.

He said: “By next week Thursday we will be meeting to finalise the framework. We are all in support of it by the grace of God.”

Commenting on the controversy surrounding the payment of N30,000 minimum wage as some states were yet to implement it, the Sokoto State governor 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 granted the legislature and judiciary financial independence 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.”