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Fractured financial autonomy for judiciary, legislature



IN THE Sunday Nation of June 7, 2020, page 5, the fallouts of the unscrupulous and anti-federal policy of granting financial Independence to the legislature and judiciary have surfaced. The 8th National Assembly had initiated an irrational policy on the retirement of the staff of the National Assembly to be 40 years of service or 65 years, whichever one that comes first.

  The policy’s crossing of ‘I and t’ had not been completed when the 9th National Assembly came on board. Mark you, the policy deviated from the Public Service Rules (PSR) which stipulates 35 years service or 60 years of age whichever comes first.

  In line with unabating corruption and falsifying of office records, an unscrupulous staff of the House of Representatives, without the specific authorisation of the Speaker, forwarded a letter to the Senate purportedly supporting the extension of service of the clerk of the red chamber to 40 years.

It took the brave outbursts of the staff to query the policy which has not been finalised.

  When the matter got to the notice of the Speaker, he pointedly said that he never authorised the issuance of such letter from his office to the red chamber.

  Have you seen the crass irrationality of the supposed financial independence of the judiciary and legislature, let alone the local government councils?

  Public Service Rules authorised by the constitution (although it is a flawed document imposed by the military junta), constitution of a federation is made by the constituents with a Referendum) which must be adhered to by all public servants in Nigeria point-blank.

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  If there must be financial independence of the judiciary and legislature, there must be a sharing of the capital and recurrent expenditures in the federal and state governments between the three arms of government viz: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

  Since the extant constitution is fundamentally flawed, the issue of financial autonomy and independence of the judiciary and legislature must be suspended until the country is restructured to reinvent the principles of federalism practiced in the first republic and backed with the 1963 Republican Constitution.

  In federal governments the world over, there are only two levels of government viz: central and regional or state governments.

  But due to the age-long devious agenda of the Northern Moslems, the military without consulting other ethno-religious groups imposed three tiers of government: federal, state, and local government councils. This was a monstrous aberration in federalism the world over.

  The brazen position was to continue funneling huge chunks of the monthly statutory allocations to the northern part of the country as the unconscionable military junta brazenly created surplus local government councils in the northern part of the country while that of the southern part was not justifiably increased. The lopsided increase was done through the 1976 Dasuki Local Government Reform.

  The bottom line is that the 1999 Constitution must be dumped into the scrap heap of history and a new constitution be drafted through the instrumentality of a national conference of all the ethnoreligious groups to enable all to proffer how the country should be structured in line with realistic federal system of government as operated in other parts of the world.

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