Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the National House of Representatives, has condemned state governors who interfere in the activities of lawmakers and judiciary in their respective states.
Dogara noted that the independence of the legislature and judiciary was the reason for the separation of powers enshrined in Sections 4, 5, and 6 of the 1999 Constitution.
The Speaker who spoke at a conference on the autonomy of state legislature in Abuja berated state governors who run their states like fiefdoms.
“A situation where one branch controls the finances of the other branches is manifestly subversive of the separation of powers doctrine and patently unconstitutional. Each branch of government should hire and fire its personnel, procure the goods and services necessary for its effective functioning without interference from any other branch. This is important in preserving and safeguarding our constitutional democracy and freedom.
“Lack of autonomy of these key institutions at the state levels has been the bane of our democracy. It is the main reason why there are no effective checks on governors, most of who run the states like fiefdoms,” Dogara said.
He pointed out that the Legislature and the Judiciary arms were meant to work with and not for the Executive arm of government.
“All branches of government must develop constructive relations with each other in order to ensure a smooth and workable system. No branch should lord it over the other or assume a position of superiority over the other. They are all co-equal branches of government set up for public good. I have always said that the Legislature and the Judiciary are meant to work with and not for the Executive,” he stated.
“Since more funds from the Federation Account go to the states and local government areas than to the Federal Government, lack of autonomy of the state legislature and the judiciary means that such humongous allocations will continue to be wasted by some state executives who have mastered the art of pocketing both the legislature and the judiciary,” he added.
Dogara further expressed joy over the effort by the federal government to recognize the independence of not just the other arms of government but also the Local Government as well.
“I must therefore thank the Federal Government for recognising this malady in our democracy and setting up this committee to ensure it is remedied by drawing up a framework for ease of compliance by states with the constitutional provision,” he noted.
Mr. Dogara finally urged all arms of government to recognize that the funds allocated to them were public funds and should therefore be used judiciously.
“Finally, I wish to admonish the practitioners and operators of the three arms of government to deploy institutional prerogatives with forbearance as no individual has ever survived reckless deployment of the coercive instruments of state.
“Misuse of power has always been and will always remain a sweet poison that kills by a thousand bites. More so, one may be a member of the Executive or Judiciary today, and belong to the Legislature tomorrow; we, as leaders, must always do those things that will build and sustain key institutions of government.”