The Execu- tive Order, EO, which was recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari into effect, remains sacrosanct and will be implemented strictly in accordance with the spirit of the law, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said yesterday. Malami, who made the clarification in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu, pointed out that there was no going back on the implementation of financial autonomy for the two tiers of state institutions. The statement, which was sent last night to Vanguard, appears to have blown off the claim that Buhari had backtracked in the implementation of the EO after a meeting he held earlier in the week with governors who are uncomfortable with the fiat given the two tiers of government.
Malami explained that there would be no retreat on the Executive Order, which was primarily aimed at deepening democracy from grassroots and ensure effective implementation of the doctrine of separation of powers in Nigeria, in compliance with Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic regarding the autonomy of the state legislature and judiciary. But the minister disclosed that the Federal Government would work with the governors in the implementation of the EO to ensure its success and bring about the age-long accelerated development Nigerians had been yearning for in those tiers of state institutions. Malami noted with satisfaction the acceptance of the governors of the 36 states in the country to abide with the constitutionality of the autonomy of the state legislature and judiciary, maintaining that the essence of the EO was to see to the implementation of the autonomy without further delay. It will be recalled that after an extended meeting with President Buhari on Monday, some of those in attendance had given the impression that Buhari had called for the postponement of the EO’s implementation in deference to the governors’ opposition to the order.