An Abuja-based legal practitioner, Dr. Olukayode Ajulo, has described the issuance of Executive Order by a sitting President and state governors as Encroachment Order.
While speaking at a session tagged ‘Executive Power and Good Governance’ at the ongoing Virtual 60th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Ajulo noted that the courts have described Executive Order as an order or regulation issued by the President or some administrative authority under his direction for the purpose of interpreting, implementing or giving administrative effect to a provision of the constitution or of some Laws or treaty as provided in Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He noted that though Abraham Lincoln defined Democracy as the Government of the People by the people and for the people, such definition has outlived his usefulness. He noted that democratic governance is total adherence to the entrenched principles of rule of law, popular participation and freedom of the people
He however noted that a major misconception which he believes is very imperative to clarify is the distinction between the powers under Section 5 of the Constitution and Section 315. He added that Section 315 cannot under any guise be read or interpreted to mean Executive Order. The Section gives ‘an appropriate authority’ to modify an Act of the National Assembly or State House of Assembly in order to bring it into conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.
Dr. Ajulo while lamenting on the illegal issuance of various Executive Order in Nigeria, he noted that ‘While acknowledging the fact that an Executive Order is indeed an effective instrument or tool for good governance and administration by the Government, however, the experience in the country has showed that various Executive orders have been used by persons in the corridors of powers to achieve their selfish interests. In our clime, Executive Order has been perceived as a dictatorial, autocratic, despotic, and tyrannical instrument in the hands of the rulers.
In his comment, he added that, generally, Executive Order is a desirable respite for good governance and for the realization of the powers of the Executive Arm of Government, however, in our political clime, which is an emerging democracy, Executive Order has been turned to encroachment Order.
The session was chaired by Chief J.K. Gadzama, (SAN) with Senator Ike Ikeremadu as Keynote Speaker.