President Muhammed Buhari has  just signed an Executive Order No.10 of 2020 to give life to the provision of Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution As Amended which gave financial autonomy to States’ legislature and judiciary. Despite this heroic amendment of the  1999 constitution which was signed by President Buhari in 2018 providing for the financial independence of these other two arms of government, many of the State governors have observed the implementation of that provision in utter breach and contempt. 

It is appalling to note that these are governors who swore to uphold the provisions of the constitution when being sworn into their elective offices.

The lack of financial independence of both the judiciary and the legislature have brought us to where we are today where impunity, lawlessness, lack of accountability coupled with  monarchical and messianic display of authority by many of the governors in the federation reign supreme. We have governors who treat state funds as their personal funds; they dip their hands into the state treasury and spend those funds at their whims and caprices.  

The inability of these other two arms of government to checkmate, oversee or reprimand the governors’  excesses have meant that the people are absolutely denied good and accountable governance. Infrastructures are decayed, human capital development are zero and poverty and underdevelopment indices stare everyone in the face as a result of the inability of the institutions to work according to the provisions of our law.

When President  Buhari set up the Presidential Implementation Committee on financial autonomy of these two other arms, some of us were skeptical that it may go the way of other committees whose recommendations are usually thrown into the dustbin. Alas!  I was personally  excited about the Executive Order that the president has just signed giving life to the express provision of the constitution which these governors have only observed in breach. 

The provisions of the Executive Order was very explicit that the Accountant General must ensure the Allocations to these two other arms of government get to them directly, especially of those States where the governors have disregarded the implementation of the constitution. The State legislative assemblies are mandated to appropriate the sums of money due to the States’  Assemblies and the judiciaries by giving them priority(as a first line charge) in their budgeting process. 

This is a thumb up for President Muhammed  Buhari. We need more of this kind of thinking and innovation in governance  to revive Nigeria. The truth of the matter is that Nigeria is being killed incrementally by her leaders through brazen stealing of her resources that should have been used to develop the country and the people.

I use this medium to urge the president and the National Assembly  to go the entire hog to stop the avenues through which elites steal directly from the people because of the loopholes in our legal system. The National Assembly and the President are hereby urged to ensure financial autonomy of the Local Government Areas  in Nigeria through an immediate amendment of the constitution of 1999.  Several billions in terms of allocations to the local government Areas across the country are squandered by these same governors due to the Joint Account which the constitution provided for warehousing the allocations. 

Today as I speak there is no single local government area in Nigeria that receives in full her allocations from the federation account. They are being tampered with by these same governors and these amount run in billions of Naira. This must stop now!

It is also my plea that the President and National Assembly should also enact a law  that will  stop the governors determining the security votes they can take out of the system without accounting for them. I implore the EFCC to use a particular governor in the South East who have admitted squandering 38billion of the said security votes to set example of the lack of transparency and accountability which is our bane. It is criminal under our present democracy to spend any money without appropriation and accountability. We should test our laws on this.

Finally all Nigerians are advised to rise up and press for Procurement Laws in all the States of the federation with appointment of board members to oversee the contract  award system that have been used by these state governors to squander the riches of the various States. It is a drain pipe that are used by both the federal and state governments to take so much out of the system and today the country is known as the poverty capital of the world not because we do not have resources or money, but because our leaders have mastered the art of taking so much out of the system without accountability. A word is enough for the wise.

Monday O. Ubani Esq

Legal Practitioner.