The 36 state governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) have faulted the Executive Order 10 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari guaranteeing states legislature and judiciary financial autonomy, a report has revealed.
The order, signed on 22 May, empowers the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct funds for the state legislature and the judiciary from the federal allocations to the states.
But the state governors have knocked back the order, describing it as unnecessary and unconstitutional, according to The Nation.
The report quoted a governor from the north-central as saying Kayode Fayemi, Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Ekiti State, was nominated to meet with President Buhari and Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, to “dialogue” over the development.
“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 governor was quoted to have said.
“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.”
Another unnamed governor added that the executive order is at variance with the 1999 constitution (as amended) and extant state laws.
“For a federating nation, there are so many extraneous clauses in EO 10 which are in conflict with the 1999 Constitution.
“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,” the governor said.