The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi, on Monday, disclosed that state governors and other stakeholders have reached an agreement on the implementation of financial autonomy for state legislature and the judiciary.
Although he did not disclose the details of the agreement reached, he assured the nation that the implementation will start in May.
Fayemi, who is also the governor of Ekiti State, disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting of the technical committee on the matter chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He insisted that state governors were never opposed to legislative and judicial autonomy, saying the governors, the Speakers of Houses of Assembly and the judges are on the same page on the issue.
The governor said, “We just emerged from a meeting with the Solicitor-General of the Federation, the representatives of the judiciary, the representatives of the Conference of Speakers, and House of Representatives and we are on all fours. An agreement has been reached.
“First, the issue is about implementation. There has been no objection from governors on judicial and legislative autonomies. As a matter of fact, it would not have passed if governors were not in support in the first instance, in the state Assemblies.
“So, that issue has been fully and holistically addressed, but we don’t just want to agree to something on paper without working out the modalities for implementation.
“Thankfully, the meeting we have just emerged from, with the Chief of Staff to the President chairing, has worked out the modalities to the satisfaction of all parties.”
On when the implementation will begin, Fayemi said, “As soon as the final document that is being cleaned up emerges, that is preparatory to implementation.
“We are not going to put a timeframe in the air, but it will be implemented as soon as possible, definitely not later than the end of May 2021.”
The governor then appealed to the striking judiciary workers to return to work in the interest of the nation.
He said calling off their action was important because “as far as this has gone, we have met with all the parties concerned, the President, through the Chief of Staff, has also been seized of this matter and has been monitoring what has been happening.
“I think we are basically at a position where whether you speak to the Conference of Speakers’ chairperson or you speak to me or you speak to the representative of the judiciary or you speak to the Solicitor-General of the Federation, you will hear that we are speaking with one voice on the implementation and not later than May, you will start seeing the implementation of the agreement that we have reached.”
When asked for the position of the NGF on the controversy generated by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, that the Central Bank of Nigeria printed N60billion to augment March allocation for states, Fayemi said the NGF refused to make a statement on the matter “because for us, this is not an issue that requires a statement from the governors.
“The Minister of Finance has dealt with it and the issue is out there for you to deal with.”