The Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, has thrown his weight behind the struggle by judicial and legislative workers and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for the entrenchment of judicial and legislative autonomy in the country.
He said the full autonomy would expand democratic frontiers in the country.
Okechukwu, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), stated that for the first time, some pundits who never commended President Muhammadu Buhari, were hailing him for giving life to the real restructuring of democracy in Nigeria through the amendment of Section 121(3) of our Constitution and his Executive Order 10 geared towards compelling Governors to grant autonomy to state legislatures and judiciary.
In a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, Okechukwu noted that the popular restructuring everybody clamoured for in Nigeria cannot advance democracy, when State Governors act more or less like Emperors, trample on basic tenets of democracy, rig local council elections, enjoy rubber stamp legislatures and muscle the judiciary.
He hailed President Buhari,” for the real restructuring of democracy in Nigeria, which Mr President has embarked upon via the amendment of Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2018, which he followed up two years after with Executive Order 10 of 2020.”
Okechukwu said, “One also hails the resolute and great legislative and judiciary workers and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA). These are true patriots and crusaders of deepening of the frontiers of democracy in Nigeria, as democracy cannot in the real sense thrive in Nigeria when we operate rubber stamp State Legislatures and non-independent more or less pliant State Judiciary.
“Executive Order 10 has come to really restructure democracy. We only talk of free and fair elections as per INEC, not State Electoral Commission. This is why the NBA a prime actor in the locus inquo stepped into the fray.”
He commended the NBA “for this noble public interest intervention,” adding that “most patriots are in total support of the legislative and judiciary workers who have been on nationwide strike to drive home their point.”
Okechukwu recalled that Mr. President and the 8th National and State Assemblies patriotically assented to the Fourth 1999 Constitution Alteration Bill, which granted financial autonomy and independence to State Judiciary and State Legislatures in June 2018.
“Regrettably, nearly two years down the line, we waited endlessly for our dear Emperors to either obey or implement this landmark constitutional amendment meant to further deepen our democracy at the grassroots.
“Accordingly, President Buhari has no option but to resort to the executive powers vested on him in Section 5(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which ‘shall extend to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, all laws made by the National Assembly and to all matters’ and signed the Executive Order 10 in May 2020, to compel reluctant governors to implement the financial autonomy granted State Legislatures and State Judiciary by Section 121(3) of our Constitution,” he added.