The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has expressed its unalloyed support for the financial autonomy of states’ legislative and judiciary arms bill, hitherto passed by the National Assembly and as assented to by Mr President who set up an Implementation Committee.
In a release issued on behalf of CACOL’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran by its Coordinator for Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, he stated, “We would recall that just last year, the National Assembly (the Senate and House of Representatives) initiated and passed a bill giving financial autonomy to states’ legislature and the judiciary. The purpose of which is to limit the amount of interference and control the Executive arm could exercise on those two vital arms that traditionally constitute the government in conjunction with the executive arm. We would also recollect that shortly after the advent of this democracy in 1999, the legislative arm at the federal level was able to secure its own financial autonomy by not only preparing its own budget heads, but also allocating resources for itself in terms of what salary, emoluments and other allowances were accorded its officials, some of which are not just alien to the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, but offensive to the morality of the nation (example is the constituency projects) with some of this running into billions in monetary categorization. This has not only depleted the resources of the nation, but seriously made the nation a laughing stock in the comity of nations because, we now have a situation whereby over 70% (Seventy percent) of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is being used to service the political class, which constitutes less than 10% (Ten percent) of the entire nation with each of the legislators earning more than their counterparts even an advanced economy like USA, Great Britain, etc. This scenario, no doubt poses a significant challenge to the nation’s ability to prosper and develop its critical infrastructures, education and other vital areas.
“However, the Judiciary seems to be the arm that has remained terribly shortchanged in the fiscal arrangement even after the termination of the military rule, yet we all agree that it is the last hope of the common man; with salaries and allowances of its members still largely subjected to Revenue Mobilization, Allocation And Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Act while the two other arms have been independently allocating fabulous allowances and commissions to each other. It is against this backdrop that CACOL as an anti-corruption and Open Leadership Coalition, seriously supports and throws its weight behind this overdue fiscal autonomy for both federal and states’ judiciary as well as the states’ legislature to promote open governance, make our judicial officials, at all levels to eschew corruption and all forms of grafts while the legislature could also be encouraged to initiate good and desirous bills for the wellbeing of their states and the nation.”
The CACOL boss added, “We have no doubt that this step is in the right direction, but as stated earlier, all noticeable loopholes for abuses must be blocked with the RMAFC allowed to still streamline the allowances, salaries and other benefits accruable for the process to be sanitized. This should not be exclusive to the Judiciary alone, but must involve both the Executive and the National Legislature to reconnect to equity, fairness and general will of the people in overall remuneration and rewarding system for the nation’s workers and its public servants.”