George Akume

The historical past of govt orders in Nigeria is traceable to the structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).  This suggests that it carries the pressure of legislation and could be legally applied. Nevertheless there was an infinite problem to its constitutionality and enforcement. Among the contributors, maintain the view that solely the legislature and never the President, possesses the inherent powers to make legal guidelines; subsequently, barking orders with any pressure of legislation for implementation is tantamount to a breach of the age lengthy precept of separation of powers.

Trying deeply into the 1999 Structure (as amended) it’s clear that state powers in our present constitutional democracy are shared among the many three arms of presidency, i.e  the chief, the legislature and the judiciary. It’s worthy to notice that whereas the drafters vested legislative and judicial powers in establishments, govt powers are vested within the president. Nevertheless, each establishments and the workplace of the President are headed by people in a transient method.

This structure just like the American structure enshrines the idea of separation of powers into its construction. The powers of the Legislature, Govt and the Judiciary are contained in Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Structure respectively. The structure nevertheless has no specific provision declaring that the powers of the three branches of Authorities must be separated; the precept then is to ensure the separate functioning of the branches of Authorities whereas complementing one another.

I’ve served as a state Governor, a federal legislator (Senator) and now a Minister of the Federal Republic.  In my years of public service, I skilled the usage of the powers contained beneath Sections Four and 5 of the structure and may converse on this regards.

The provisions of part 5(1)(a) of the1999 structure ( as amended) state that the powers “could also be exercised by the President straight, or by means of the vice-president and ministers of the Authorities of the Federation or officers within the public service of the Federation.”

The structure additional states clearly the scope and goal of this govt energy as “for the execution and upkeep of the structure, all legal guidelines made by the Nationwide Meeting and to all issues with respect to which the Nationwide Meeting has in the interim, energy to make legal guidelines.”

Within the case of a State Authorities, the mentioned powers beneath Part 5(2)(a) of the structure are to be exercised by the Governor straight or by means of the deputy Governor, Commissioners or officers of the state. There may be nevertheless a transparent caveat for the State governments to not train the powers to “impede or prejudice the train of the chief powers of the Federation”

Equally, the identical structure beneath Part 315 (2) empowers the President or the Governor of a State (because the case could also be) to make an order for the modifications of the textual content of any present legislation as they contemplate crucial or expedient to deliver that legislation into conformity with the provisions of the structure. This bothers on a selected textual content in any Act or Legislation which can be at variance with the provisions of the structure. This precept relies on the idea of constitutional superiority and a transparent indication that though the powers of lawmaking are vested within the Legislature, the Govt powers can be utilized to switch a textual content in an present legislation for the aim of creating it to evolve with the Structure.

In train of his govt Powers beneath Part 5 of the 1999 Structure of the FRN, then President Olusegun Obasanjo issued (Order) Statutory Instrument No. 9 of 2002 which modified sure provisions of the Allocation of Income (Federation Account, and many others) Decree (No 106) of 1992, together with the sharing formulation.

All 36 State Governor together with myself introduced the matter earlier than the Supreme Courtroom for interpretation on the constitutionality of the motion. The Supreme Courtroom thought-about the train by the President to not be an abuse of the precept of the doctrine of separation of powers, however moderately, an essential motion to protect an present legislation and provides which means to the constitutional provision it contravenes.

President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a number of Govt Orders since assumption of workplace. A lot of the orders goal the economic system, the struggle towards corruption, the event of important Nationwide Infrastructure particularly roads and the regularization or voluntary declaration of offshore belongings of Nigerian residents for the aim of submitting acceptable tax returns. These Govt Orders have formed the route of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Having examined the historical past of Govt Orders and the usefulness because it have been, my focus will now be on the not too long ago signed Govt Oder no. 10 of Could 20, 2020 which is for the implementation of economic autonomy for state legislature and judiciary. I envision the Order as a veritable instrument for the sustenance and strengthening of our establishments particularly constitutionally established our bodies.

The idea of separation of powers which advocates for the independence of the three arms of presidency won’t serve any goal if the Legislature and the Judiciary will maintain going cap in hand to the chief for handouts to run their affairs. This strategy is accountable for the favored slogan referring to state legislatures as ‘rubber stamp’ and a transparent case of “the piper dictating the tune”. Moreover, part 121(3) of the Structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended); gives for the monetary autonomy on the state tier of presidency. To this finish a Presidential Implementation Committee is already constituted to trend out methods and modalities for the implementation of economic autonomy to fulfill the Constitutional provision on monetary autonomy for the 2 tiers of presidency on the state degree.

Thanks Mr. President for taking a daring step in guaranteeing that the opposite essential arms of presidency at state ranges additionally take pleasure in their monetary autonomy in order to ensure free, honest and the efficient provision of providers rendered by these establishments with out pointless exterior or govt interference.

The period of inevitability of instability of management of state legislatures could also be over; Mr. President has strengthened and consolidated the inspiration of democracy on the 2nd tier of presidency. Now could be the time for commendation, not condemnation as we mark 21 years of uninterrupted democracy. And so Kudos to Mr President, the daddy of democratic renewal within the states.


  • Senator Akume is Minister for Particular Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs.



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