Nigerian governors have reached a consensus to set up an implementation structure to grant the judiciary power to manage its capital and recurrent expenditure in line with constitutional provisions, Sokoto State Governor, Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal stated this in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday.
This is as Ekiti State Governor and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi assured that states would adhere strictly to any agreement reached with representatives of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and representatives of the speakers of parliament on the autonomy of the judiciary and legislative arms of government.
Governor Tambuwal presented the perspective of the NGF at a special Attorney General’s Colloquium held in honour of the retiring Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Ayodeji Daramola in Ado-Ekiti.
Tambuwal, who was the guest speaker at the event stated that the autonomy of the judiciary was critical to the sustenance of the country’s democratic process, adding that some of the conflicting areas of the Executive Order 10 which mandated the implementation of judiciary and legislative autonomy across states of the federation, were being addressed.
He said the delay in the implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary was simply a matter of procedure, governance structure and the quest for legal clarity.
The Sokoto State governor, who is NGF’s vice-chairman, however, disclosed that the governors had agreed to put up an implementation structure that would enable the judiciary have power to manage its capital and recurrent expenditures in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
Tambuwal said the agreement would end the long weeks of strike by judicial workers which has halted judicial and criminal justice process in the country.
“The recent misunderstanding on the financial autonomy of the judiciary is predicated on the need to establish an implementation framework to the 4th Alteration of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Section 121(3). What we have questioned, and we have made this known at every opportunity, is the process of implementing this provision of the Constitution.
“The Presidential Executive Order No 10 of 2020 is a unique piece of regulation which we believe deserves highest scrutiny if we must uphold the federal principle which forms a fundamental feature of our constitution. This is 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.
“We are happy that a consensus has finally been reached on this matter. The agreement allows a period of 45 days for implementation structures to be put in place across states including the enactment of a fund management law which will grant the judiciary the power to manage its capital and recurrent expenditures in accordance with the provisions of constitution. Budgetary releases to the judiciary will be pro-rated based on the actual revenues recorded each month by the state government. Monthly revenue reconciliation and allocation will be presided over by a State Account Allocation Committee (SAAC) to be set up under the Fund Management Law – a similar practice to what we have at the federal level.
On his part, Dr Fayemi said the NGF had never at any time opposed the autonomy of the judiciary but sought legal clarification on the provision of the law on who should be responsible for the capital funding of the judiciary.
According to Dr Fayemi, “the Nigeria Governors’ Forum has reached an agreement with the representatives of the National Judiciary Council and representatives of the speakers of parliament on the issue of autonomy for judiciary and legislature.
“For us we will adhere strictly to what we have signed on to but there is a salient point that my brother, Governor Tambuwal mentioned about whose responsibility really it is to take charge of the capital funding of the judiciary.”
Speaking further Governor Fayemi promised that his administration would continue to hold the judiciary in high esteem considering its role towards the dispensation and administration of justice in the state.
The governor who highlighted some of the achievements made under the watch of the outgoing chief judge to include exit of Ekiti from reference to Ondo State law, the enactment of the criminal Justice Act, (CJN), civil procedure, rules of courts and others, expressed optimism that Justice Daramola would continue to be a fountain of knowledge and wisdom to the state on judiciary and other matters.
Earlier Justice Daramola who lamented the poor conditions of courts across the country, revealed that the review of salaries of judges had been stalled for the past 15 years contrary to the provision of the law for its review at the interval of every five years.
He blamed governors, especially those with legal background and those who were former legislators for the plight of the judiciary as well as the controversies surrounding the agitations for autonomy for the judiciary and legislature.
The event which was well attended by members of the bars and the bench members of the state House of Assembly and executive councils of Ekiti and Sokoto states, also had law undergraduate law students from universities within the state .
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‘Governor Abiodun Committed To Rule Of Law, Democracy’
The commitment of the administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun in Ogun State to ensure the preservation of the rule of law, battle corruption and, protect the tenets of democracy in the country has again been reiterated.
According to a top functionary of the government, apart from prioritising the welfare of the people, the administration is working hard to deepen the people’s beliefs in the nations democratic process.
Kayode Akinmade, a Chief Consultant on Media to the governor, who spoke while answering questions on a television programme on Friday, said as a law-abiding leader, the governor has always taken recourse to the judiciary to seek redress for himself and his administration whenever the need arises, rather than engage in self-help.
Akinmade stressed that the decision of the governor to approach the court over the matter between him and the impeached chairman of Ijebu East Local Government Area, Wale Adedayo, is a demonstration of his belief in the rule of law and his indisposition to ‘rule of force’.
Adedayo appeared before a Magistrate’s Court at Isabo, Abeokuta, on a petition filed by the state government against him over an earlier allegation of diversion of funds meant for Council Areas in the state. Governor Abiodun is insisting that the former Council boss must prove his allegations against his administration or face the wrath of the law for falsely inciting the people against the government.
Adedayo was arraigned on a two-count charge. According to Akinmade, it is wrong for people to rush to accuse the governor of persecuting Adedayo, who according to him, has “severally apologised to the governor in private while continuing with his ill-motivated misinformation in public.”
“The governor believes that taking Adedayo before the court will deepen our democracy and entrench the rule of law.
“Unlike some other people in Governor Abiodun’s shoes who would readily recourse to sending thugs after and unleashing other forms of violence on those who accused them rightly or wrongly, our governor decided to seek redress in court. I think he should be commended by all and sundry for this. What he is doing is giving Adedayo a chance to prove his allegations,” Akinmade said.
On the allegation by the impeached chairman that the governor is behind his removal, Akinmade said Adedayo was already facing removal from office before he raised the false alarms against the governor. “He has already been accused of several impeachable offences before he wrote the letter alleging that the governor diverted council funds. He had already reached out to the governor and other leaders of the party to help him stave off his removal. It was when he realized he may not survive the impeachment move that he connived with some other unscrupulous politicians in the party to malign the governor and discredit the APC in Ogun State,” Akinmade said.
The media chief added that claims by Adedayo that he got zero allocation since he became chairman of his local government were proved wrong by the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) in the state when the House of Assembly looked into his petition. He recalled that other council chairmen in the state also debunked the allegation and even brought Adedayo with them to apologize to the governor for the wrong allegations.
“But in spite of all these, he didn’t stop his scripted plot to tarnish the image of the governor. Hence, Governor Abiodun approached the court for redress,” he added.
Speaking further, Akinmade recalled that the impeached council boss has been in office for more than two years before making his frivolous and unfounded allegations. “One then wonders why he is raising this alarm now. He claimed zero allocation, but he has been collecting his monthly N3 million security votes regularly. Local government staff in his LGA are not being owed, and primary school teachers there are paid as at when due. We all should be asking him to explain what he meant by zero allocation,” he said.
BREAKING: Kaduna Guber Tribunal Nullifies Election Of Governor Uba Sani
The governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Kaduna on Thursday declared the election of Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as inconclusive and thus nullified the exercise.
The tribunal made the declaration while delivering judgement via Zoom in a petition by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Isah Ashiru, challenging the election of Sani in the March 2023, election.
The tribunal ordered that fresh election be conducted in seven wards in four LGAs of the state.
In Shakeup Of FCT Administration, Wike Sacks Agencies, Parastatals Heads
In a decisive shakeup of the administration of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), its Minister Nyesom Wike, has sacked the heads of 21 parastatals, agencies, and government companies.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Director of Press, Office of the Minister, Anthony Ogunleye, in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ogunleye identified the affected heads of the agencies as follows:
1. Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Abuja Investment Company Ltd
2. CEO/Managing Director, Abuja Markets Management Ltd
3. MD/CEO, Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company
4. CEO/MD, Abuja Property Development Company
5. CEO/MD, Abuja Technology Village Free Trade Zone Company
6. CEO/MD, Abuja Film Village International
7. CEO/MD, Powernoth AICL Equipment Leasing Company Ltd
8. MD, Abuja Broadcasting Corporation
9. MD, Abuja Enterprise Agency
10. General Manager, FCT Water Board
11. Director-General, FCT Emergency Management Agency
12. Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Healthcare Board
13. DG, Hospital Management Board
14. Director, Abuja Environmental Protection Board
15. Director, FCT Scholarship Board
16. Director, FCT Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board
17. Director, Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board
18. Coordinator, Abuja Infrastructure Investment Center
19. Director, FCT Health Insurance Scheme
20. Coordinator, Satellite Towns Development Department
21. Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council
The director of the press said that the affected appointees should hand over the affairs of their offices to the most senior officers in rank.
He added that appointments in the offices would be made in due course.
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