Ajulo backs Buhari over Executive Order 10, says decision in right direction

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Dr Kayode Ajulo, a constitutional lawyer, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing Executive Order 10, which grants financial autonomy to the legislature and judiciary at the state level.

Ajulo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the decision by the President to sign the order was “a step in the right direction”.

Buhari had, on May 22, signed into law an executive order granting financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary at the state level.

NAN reports that the Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 makes it mandatory for States of the Federation to grant financial autonomy to both the Legislature and the Judiciary in their appropriation laws.

The order has generated mixed reactions across the country with some groups commending the President for bringing to bear the intention of the drafters of the constitution, while others have risen against it.

Ajulo, while reacting to the order, said that section 5(1) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), had confirmed that the executive powers of the President shall extend to the execution and maintenance of the provisions of the constitution.

“This provision of the constitution includes all laws made by the National Assembly; it means that the power of the President to make executive order is derived under section 5(1(b) of the 1999 Constitution.

“It means that an executive order remains an effective instrument for good governance and adminiration by the government.”

He, however, regretted that experience in the country in the past had shown that various executive orders had been used by persons in the corridors of powers to achieve selfish interests.

Ajulo said that the benchmark for the assessment of any democratic government remains the independence of its tiers of government, especially the judiciary, both at the Federal and State levels.

He said that the Executive Order was particularly crucial in view of the need to build a strong democracy around the twin doctrines of separation of powers and the rule of law.

Ajulo, while quoting Prof Ben Nwabueze, also a constitutional lawyer, said: ”Autonomy will only be meaningful in a situation whereby each level of government is not constitutionally bound to accept dictation from another.”

The legal practitioner said that the executive order signed by Buhari was not an attempt to operate a unitary system of government as argued in some quarters.

He said that Buhari, as the Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pursuant to section 5 (1)(b), exercised the constitutional powers conferred on him to ensure the smooth administration of the country.

“The Executive powers of the President shall extend to the execution and maintenance of the provisions of the Constitution and all laws made by the National Assembly, ” he said.

According to him, with the executive order 10, monies meant for the judiciary are now to be paid directly to the judicial accounts of the states.

“Monies meant for the Houses of Assembly of the respective states are now to be paid directly to them for the benefit of the legislators and their legislative mandate,” he said.

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