Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
A pro-masses group, Safe the Poor Coalition (SPC), has described the Executive Order 10, 2020 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari as a highly commendable restructuring for the poor.
Rising from a virtual meeting on Sunday, the group posited that the law granting financial autonomy to state legislature and state judiciary has unbundled freedom and devolved power to the people, an ingredient for the consolidation of democracy at the grassroots.
Speaking after the meeting, the National Coordinator, Emeka Enechi, said: “SPC views Executive Order 10, 2020, as restructuring for the poor, in addition the law in no small measure devolves power and consolidates democracy at the grassroot level. By granting financial autonomy to state legislature and state judiciary, we urge the Accountant General of the Federation to give effect immediately to this Order. We commend Mr President and urge the governors to be compliant with Executive Order 10.
“The elephant in the house of our democracy is a scenario where for the past two decades state governors regrettably parade themselves as Emperors by emasculating the independence of the state legislature and the judiciary. It is important to remind us that about 48 per cent of our revenue goes to the states and local councils.
“The governors who have made themselves Emperors, since the beginning of the 4th Republic, have emasculated both the third tier of government and the legislative and judiciary arms, thereby denying the masses the dividends of democracy.”
Reminded that the governors are not happy and may head to court, Enechi quipped: “Please ask the governors why they didn’t oppose the suspension of billions of debts borrowed them as intervention funds by Mr President? Yes, they did not oppose the moratorium on repayment of the billions borrowed to them, why would they now oppose devolution of powers to the people?
“On the Executive Order 10, bear in mind that the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, must have dusted up all the lacunae and that’s why Mr. President stated thus: “Based on the power vested in me under Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I today signed into law Executive Order 10 of 2020 for implementation of financial autonomy of State legislature and judiciary,” he said.
With the First-Line Charge of funding envisaged by the Order, the group strongly maintains that the implementation of financial autonomy of the State legislature and judiciary would strengthen the independence of the judiciary and stamp out rubber stamp state legislatures we have today in the 36 states of the federation of our dear country.
“Naturally the Governors want to remain Emperors, a.k.a. Executive Governors, and are averse to the freedom that the devolution of powers to the people will engender, but liberal democracy has throughout history generated inherent powers which curb dictatorship. Executive Order 10 is a decoder to dictatorship which stifle development at the grassroot level,” he said.
On what the group will do should there be opposition from the governors, he said: “We have started mobilizing the poor who make up the majority of our population across the length and breadth of the country. Don’t forget we are the Poverty Capital of the World, this disadvantage will be converted into an advantage.
“The governors generated the mass poverty we have by squandering federal allocations that came to the state and local councils over the years. This is why they cherish to answer Executive Governor which is found no where in our Constitution, hence emasculating the state legislature and judiciary,” Enechi said.