Reminiscence Of NBA Kano/Ungogo Branches’ Visit To Governor Ganduje To Press Home The Implementation Of Financial Autonomy For The Judiciary: Our Husband Has Ran Mad Again!

Reminiscence Of NBA Kano/Ungogo Branches’ Visit To Governor Ganduje To Press Home The Implementation Of Financial Autonomy For The Judiciary: Our Husband Has Ran Mad Again!

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By A. S. Gidan-Wankey, Esq.

image image

The memory verse!

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“I, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, do solemnly swear/affirm that I
will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic
of Nigeria; that as a Governor of Kano State, I will discharge my
duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with
the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the
law,…that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and
Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…”

The caption above is the oath of office taken by Governor
Ganduje on the 29th May, 2019 as elected Governor of
Kano State which to my mind, he has failed to uphold, evident by
his recent comments on judicial autonomy. Worse still, being a
Muslim, Governor Ganduje took the said oath of office while holding
the scripture I live my life by (the Holy Qur’an) believing that he
would strictly abide by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria (2011 altered) in the discharge of his
stewardship.

Meanwhile, in a frantic pitch of compliance with the directive
of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the
leadership of the revered NBA Kano and Ungogo Branch respectively,
paid a visit to Governor Ganduje on the 20th day of
April, 2021 with a view to press home the demand for the financial
autonomy for the judiciary. The visit was aimed at calling the
attention of the   Governor to observe rule of law
thereby complying with the provision of section 121 (3) of the 1999
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The respected
Chairmen along other concerned Bar-Men cited and demonstrated to
the Governor the purport of section 121 (3) of the Constitution,
all in an attempt to making the lay-Governor to comprehend the
message therein.

Curiously somehow, Governor Ganduje responded with a
disingenuous statement that “I will accept Governors’ Forum
decision.”
As a rule of law campaigner, I am beholden to my
conscience and to the Federal Republic of Nigeria to raise the
following queries: Is Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) known to the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Is NGF the
Governor of Kano State? Did NGF sworn to the Oath of Office? Has
any member of the so-called NGF beside Ganduje, sworn by the Quran
to discharge his duties in Kano State in accordance with the
Constitution? Must Ganduje advertise his ignorance of the law in
the circumstance? Who has bewitched Governor Ganduje? I don’t have
the answers for now. Let’s go!

My predilection to educate Governor Ganduje and his likes on
their feigning ignorance of the position of the Constitution (which
he sworn to preserve) regarding financial autonomy for the
judiciary pitch the salt of my brain to interrogate the provision
of section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic
of Nigeria, with a view to showcasing the naked response of Ganduje
as nothing but a clear tendency to remain on the path of executive
recklessness and abuse of power. Thus, the Governor need to be
informed that what the NBA presented to him is a matter of hard law
not a choreographed political drama. Section 121 (3) provides:

“Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the
consolidated revenue fund of the state shall be paid directly to
the heads of the courts concerned”

Judging from the clear wordings of Section 121 (3) above, it is
transparently evident that, any amount of money standing to the
credit of the judiciary is to be paid directly to the head of
courts for onward disbursement, project execution and general
maintenance of the courts etc. The executive arm of government has
no power whatsoever to direct what should be done with the funds
let alone controlling same. Thus, financial autonomy for the
judiciary has for long been settled and provided under the
constitution the same way the office of Governor established.
Hence, Ganduje’s feigning ignorance of understanding the crux, that
is, financial autonomy as commended by section 121 (3) of the CFRN
means a one-off pay-off cum an outright payment of what is due to
the judiciary from the consolidated fund.

For the umpteenth times, Governor Ganduje has made a heavy
weather that, he has been spending millions of Naira as allowances
for judges. What a shame! Is this not a clear vindication of
subjecting the judiciary to the shadow of the executive through
financial dependency and compromising the course of justice? In
other words, the standpoint of the Nigerian Governors on judiciary
financial autonomy explains the reason why section 121 (3) is being
strangled; id est to perpetuate their reign of terror,
mis-governance and impunity without any challenge.  This
executive manipulation of justice system could only be referenced
as a defence where unconstitutionality becomes the order of the
day. Under the 1999 constitution, the independence of the judiciary
is not only guaranteed, its financial autonomy remains the pillar
upon which indirect control and manipulation is resisted.
Therefore, the only way the judiciary can be independent is to
bestow on it financial willpower.

I make bold to say that the utterances of Governor Ganduje
during the visit may be interpreted to mean that he is one of the
Nigeria’s State Governors whose preoccupation is to conspire and
gang up against the independence of the judiciary. This should not
be tolerated by all well-meaning Nigerians. It is crystal clear
that the refusal to grant financial autonomy to the judiciary by
states governors speak volume of the level of unconstitutionality,
lawlessness and impunity”. Thus, Governor Ganduje and his likes
cannot cherry-pick or pick and choose to pay millions of Naira as
been claimed as substitution of the express wordings of section 121
(3) of the Constitution; neither can he subject the operation of
the said section to the whims and caprices of the Nigerian
Governors Forum’ decision; an association that is far below the
status of Alaba Market in Lagos or Singa Market in Kano. Because,
unlike the NGF, whose business is exploiting public resources, the
traders in Alaba and Singa Markets pay their revenue and levies to
the Government as at when due.

Worryingly, it is high time to educate the Governor that, judges
are not his employees. They are his equal partners in the running
the affairs of Kano State as no arm of government is better than
the other. So, paying “N20million as allowance”, “N46million as
overhead” and “N100million for furniture and accommodation” as
being claimed by Gandje (even if it is true), cannot substitute or
vary the principle of financial autonomy of the judiciary
encapsulated in section 121 (3) of the Constitution. Therefore, it
is incumbent on Ganduje to separate what constitutionally stand to
the credit of the judiciary in the consolidated revenue fund and,
let My Lords run their affairs so as to secure their independence
and impartiality. It should also be made to sunk in the skull of
Nigerian Governors that, the consolidated revenue fund of the state
established under section 121 (3) of the constitution is not a
personal property of the executive. It belongs to the Executive,
Legislature and the judiciary. Suffice it to say that, keeping what
rightfully belongs to other arms of government is an abuse of
constitutional provisions.

To drive my point back home, a community reading of s.1, s.36,
s.121 (3) and Seventh Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2011 altered) begs the question:
whether the act of subjecting the observance of financial
autonomy for the judiciary to the decision of NGF by Governor
Ganduje against the tenant of section 113 (3) plus his flagrant
breach of Oath of Office enshrined in the Seventh Schedule amounts
to “gross misconduct” in the performance of his functions so as to
invoke the provision of section 188 (1) of the CFRN?
Certainly
yes. My authority is subsection (11) of s.188 of the CFRN which
clearly defines “gross misconduct” to mean “a grave violation
or breach of the provisions of this constitution…” 

Worryingly, the lawmakers who have the power to set the wheel of
section 188 (1) into action are equally financially handicapped or
at best political errands of the state governors. It is very
unfortunate.

By A. S. Gidan-Wankey, Esq.

image image

The memory verse!

image

“I, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, do solemnly swear/affirm that I
will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic
of Nigeria; that as a Governor of Kano State, I will discharge my
duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with
the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the
law,…that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and
Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…”

The caption above is the oath of office taken by Governor
Ganduje on the 29th May, 2019 as elected Governor of
Kano State which to my mind, he has failed to uphold, evident by
his recent comments on judicial autonomy. Worse still, being a
Muslim, Governor Ganduje took the said oath of office while holding
the scripture I live my life by (the Holy Qur’an) believing that he
would strictly abide by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria (2011 altered) in the discharge of his
stewardship.

Meanwhile, in a frantic pitch of compliance with the directive
of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the
leadership of the revered NBA Kano and Ungogo Branch respectively,
paid a visit to Governor Ganduje on the 20th day of
April, 2021 with a view to press home the demand for the financial
autonomy for the judiciary. The visit was aimed at calling the
attention of the   Governor to observe rule of law
thereby complying with the provision of section 121 (3) of the 1999
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The respected
Chairmen along other concerned Bar-Men cited and demonstrated to
the Governor the purport of section 121 (3) of the Constitution,
all in an attempt to making the lay-Governor to comprehend the
message therein.

Curiously somehow, Governor Ganduje responded with a
disingenuous statement that “I will accept Governors’ Forum
decision.”
As a rule of law campaigner, I am beholden to my
conscience and to the Federal Republic of Nigeria to raise the
following queries: Is Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) known to the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Is NGF the
Governor of Kano State? Did NGF sworn to the Oath of Office? Has
any member of the so-called NGF beside Ganduje, sworn by the Quran
to discharge his duties in Kano State in accordance with the
Constitution? Must Ganduje advertise his ignorance of the law in
the circumstance? Who has bewitched Governor Ganduje? I don’t have
the answers for now. Let’s go!

My predilection to educate Governor Ganduje and his likes on
their feigning ignorance of the position of the Constitution (which
he sworn to preserve) regarding financial autonomy for the
judiciary pitch the salt of my brain to interrogate the provision
of section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic
of Nigeria, with a view to showcasing the naked response of Ganduje
as nothing but a clear tendency to remain on the path of executive
recklessness and abuse of power. Thus, the Governor need to be
informed that what the NBA presented to him is a matter of hard law
not a choreographed political drama. Section 121 (3) provides:

“Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the
consolidated revenue fund of the state shall be paid directly to
the heads of the courts concerned”

Judging from the clear wordings of Section 121 (3) above, it is
transparently evident that, any amount of money standing to the
credit of the judiciary is to be paid directly to the head of
courts for onward disbursement, project execution and general
maintenance of the courts etc. The executive arm of government has
no power whatsoever to direct what should be done with the funds
let alone controlling same. Thus, financial autonomy for the
judiciary has for long been settled and provided under the
constitution the same way the office of Governor established.
Hence, Ganduje’s feigning ignorance of understanding the crux, that
is, financial autonomy as commended by section 121 (3) of the CFRN
means a one-off pay-off cum an outright payment of what is due to
the judiciary from the consolidated fund.

For the umpteenth times, Governor Ganduje has made a heavy
weather that, he has been spending millions of Naira as allowances
for judges. What a shame! Is this not a clear vindication of
subjecting the judiciary to the shadow of the executive through
financial dependency and compromising the course of justice? In
other words, the standpoint of the Nigerian Governors on judiciary
financial autonomy explains the reason why section 121 (3) is being
strangled; id est to perpetuate their reign of terror,
mis-governance and impunity without any challenge.  This
executive manipulation of justice system could only be referenced
as a defence where unconstitutionality becomes the order of the
day. Under the 1999 constitution, the independence of the judiciary
is not only guaranteed, its financial autonomy remains the pillar
upon which indirect control and manipulation is resisted.
Therefore, the only way the judiciary can be independent is to
bestow on it financial willpower.

I make bold to say that the utterances of Governor Ganduje
during the visit may be interpreted to mean that he is one of the
Nigeria’s State Governors whose preoccupation is to conspire and
gang up against the independence of the judiciary. This should not
be tolerated by all well-meaning Nigerians. It is crystal clear
that the refusal to grant financial autonomy to the judiciary by
states governors speak volume of the level of unconstitutionality,
lawlessness and impunity”. Thus, Governor Ganduje and his likes
cannot cherry-pick or pick and choose to pay millions of Naira as
been claimed as substitution of the express wordings of section 121
(3) of the Constitution; neither can he subject the operation of
the said section to the whims and caprices of the Nigerian
Governors Forum’ decision; an association that is far below the
status of Alaba Market in Lagos or Singa Market in Kano. Because,
unlike the NGF, whose business is exploiting public resources, the
traders in Alaba and Singa Markets pay their revenue and levies to
the Government as at when due.

Worryingly, it is high time to educate the Governor that, judges
are not his employees. They are his equal partners in the running
the affairs of Kano State as no arm of government is better than
the other. So, paying “N20million as allowance”, “N46million as
overhead” and “N100million for furniture and accommodation” as
being claimed by Gandje (even if it is true), cannot substitute or
vary the principle of financial autonomy of the judiciary
encapsulated in section 121 (3) of the Constitution. Therefore, it
is incumbent on Ganduje to separate what constitutionally stand to
the credit of the judiciary in the consolidated revenue fund and,
let My Lords run their affairs so as to secure their independence
and impartiality. It should also be made to sunk in the skull of
Nigerian Governors that, the consolidated revenue fund of the state
established under section 121 (3) of the constitution is not a
personal property of the executive. It belongs to the Executive,
Legislature and the judiciary. Suffice it to say that, keeping what
rightfully belongs to other arms of government is an abuse of
constitutional provisions.

To drive my point back home, a community reading of s.1, s.36,
s.121 (3) and Seventh Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2011 altered) begs the question:
whether the act of subjecting the observance of financial
autonomy for the judiciary to the decision of NGF by Governor
Ganduje against the tenant of section 113 (3) plus his flagrant
breach of Oath of Office enshrined in the Seventh Schedule amounts
to “gross misconduct” in the performance of his functions so as to
invoke the provision of section 188 (1) of the CFRN?
Certainly
yes. My authority is subsection (11) of s.188 of the CFRN which
clearly defines “gross misconduct” to mean “a grave violation
or breach of the provisions of this constitution…” 

Worryingly, the lawmakers who have the power to set the wheel of
section 188 (1) into action are equally financially handicapped or
at best political errands of the state governors. It is very
unfortunate.

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