JUST IN:Executive Order 10 Implementation Not Uhuru. By S. O. K Shillings, Esq. (The Pen Master)

*Executive Order 10 Implementation not Uhuru*

By the implementation of Executive Order 10 granting financial autonomy to the State Houses of Assembly in addition to the one granted to the judiciary by the constitution, the concept of separation of power is solidified as the other arms of government will not have to depend on the executive arm and be subject to its whims and caprices. However, there are other matters arising.

By this grant of financial autonomy, there is still need for accountability which starts with the laying of a budget before the legislature by way of an Appropriation Bill by the executive. Now, will this process be obliterated in the case of the two other arms and the people should not know how they want to spend public moneys? I hope not!

S. 121(4) of the 1999 CFRN provides for Supplementary budget where there is shortage or unforseen expenditure. But it failed to address the possibility of excess which could happen where the project(s) or event(s) budgeted for could not be implemented for any reason or implemented at lower cost or became unnecessary.

So, there is no provision for retirement of excess. Public officers are led into temptation when retirement is unnecessary. This is even made more complicated where money is drawn from consolidated fund without any supporting budget or transparency in what particular items the money will be spent on. It is submitted here that public fund is at risk of unaccountability.

In the end, with the right to probe virements, the executive may still be handed a veritable tool with which to put the other two arms of government in blackmail check after falling to temptation of a vague independence.

Worse case, the heads of the other arms may be made to face the music of their deriliction with charges of corruption. That is worse still for the head of the judiciary, who is not just a judge but a symbol of the honour of the living law.

Permit me to remind you that Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly is still in the dock on charges of corruption and the Registrar of the Supreme Court was arraigned but, dramatically, not prosecuted in the build up to the unlawful removal of Honourable Justice Onnoghen from office.

It is therefore not Uhuru for the two arms of government unless and until the provisions for accountability that will 'deliver them from evil' is incorporated into the enabling sections and paragraphs of the constitution more for the safeguard of public funds than saving the officers from the reprisals for taking the sop or bait.

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