Observer-General of the Federal Republic and frontline activist, Patriot Patrick Eholor has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for signing an executive order enabling state legislatures and judiciary to be financially autonomous of their state governments. He also hailed Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River for abolishing taxing for low income earners, as well as Hope Uzodinma of Imo State for ending pensions and gratuities for former governors and their deputies.
He also spoke on a number of other issues:
President Muhammadu Buhari just sighed an Executive Order on financial autonomy for State Legislatures and Judiciary. How would you react to this?
I think we are getting there. If we continue on this pace, we are eventually going to have our independence. When I say independence, I don’t mean the nation, but in various arms of government. We are supposed to have 3 arms of government but lately, the executive have pocketed the other two arms, the judiciary and the legislature. I am happy that the president have become very proactive and have done the needful. Am sure a lot of things are going to be different.
If the judiciary have their autonomy, it means that they are no more dependent on the Executive and won’t be afraid to make bold decisions and step on toes, that they didn’t have the power to do before now.
It will also now help the House of Assembly members who have also in many ways believed that they have to play to the gallery of their masters, since most of them were not elected but were selected. Because of this independence, majority of them will have the guts to do the needful for their Constituency.
It’s a shame that the two colossus, Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki who are figgtubg today, were also the people who denied this state of local government autonomy. Am surprised a d shocked that the former Labour leader, who is my friend, with his economic team manager then, which Obaseki was, with some of the exco members. Then with the dishonourable House member Adjoto, they all connived to kill local government autonomy, because they want to continue to dictate for them. If anything has been delayed for the local governments, they had power to take the states to court because they were no more supposed to be getting allocations from states anymore. They can sue the state and federal governments to pay them their allocations.
I know that Donald Trump don’t have a right to control the mayor of New York. John Tradeau don’t have a rifht to control the mayor of Misisagagar, because they have their own independent power.
You said they could go to court if the state governments refuse to pay them. What if the states have a certain level of influence over the courts?
There is nothing like what if. The Federal government is superior to the state, the state is superior to the local government. So the authority has spoken and what they said is final. Its up to the local governments to be more responsible now and split the funds they call security votes, and allocation and give directly what is meant for Caesar to Caesar and what’s for God to God.
Some policemen harassed journalists on official duty, and the Nigerian Bar Association is with journalists on this to give the police 5 days notice to apologise. Where are we heading to?
We are heading somewhere. Its not complicated. What brought the whites to their knees in America during the era of Rosa Parks, when she refused to stand up for a white man in a bus in Alabama. She said I am not inferior. My blood is red and I think yours is red. When she was forced and molested, the civil rights leaders were Martin Luther King Jr, a Christian, and Malcolm X, a Muslim. They organised a Stay-at-home protest that brought the American economy to its knees.
So I think that a lot of journalists have been sellouts because of stomach infrastructure. If the journalists come together and unite, with the support of NBA-they boycott courts, journalists boycott news reporting, you will see what will happen.
Journalists eat fire for us to drink water and I think 5 days is too long for police to abuse journalists and refuse to apologise. Am in solidarity with journalists. Am giving them 24 hours to apologise.
There is the recent abolition of taxes for low income earners in Cross River State by Governor Ben Ayade. What’s your take on this?
For my state, I think Godwin Obaseki has to take a cue from that. Obaseki has been very boastful that he has raised the IGT to 2 million plus to the detriment of very low income earners. This is a shame because in civilised societies, the rich cushion the poor, they are the ones that pay taxes. But here, they don’t pay. You can’t even go to their gates to ask for taxes.
The police you gave them to protect you will harass or even beat you.
You didn’t give our fathers and mothers land, or fertilisers or seeds, you didn’t buy cutlass for them, or water or irrigation, they use their sweat and blood to make sure they are able to plant cassava, corn, yam. Yet when they are bringing their produce to sell in the city, when you didn’t do the roads for them, you will beat them, humiliate them, and seize their goods. That’s very inhuman. Even when the whites colonised us, they didn’t go to this extreme methods. I think something is wrong with the black race.
This is victory for us, and I pray for another epidemic like covid to come again. Because I think the covid is the one that has exposed the issue of good governance and fake pastors in Nigeria.
I want to applaud Ayade, and appeal that instead of Obaseki to be fighting for second term, he should take a cue from Ayade.
Imo State Governor also abolished the compulsory payment of pensions and gratuities to past governors and deputy governors. What do you think of this?
I want to say that the FG has to also go further to make a law that the governors or deputy governors are not entitled for their cars to be changed, the allowance they used to get they are not entitled to it, because we have no oil, and there are so many unemployed youths. Those monies can be used to repair hospitals, schools, set up new infrastructure, they have to even go further to make taxes.