Court to decide Excess Crude Account row
Moves to settle the Excess Crude Account dispute amicably have collapsed.
The Supreme Court will decide the matter, governors said yesterday.
Governors are to meet Senate President David Mark and House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal on contentious areas of the proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution.
Leaders of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and the National Assembly have been maintaining parallel positions on the proposed amendments.
The proposals border on removal of immunity clause in Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, autonomy for local governments, financial independence for Houses of Assembly, abolition of Joint Account for states and local governments, scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commission(SIEC), review of the principle of derivation and state creation, among others.
Besides, the governors may draw President Goodluck Jonathan’s attention to the recent attacks on them by a former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark.
Although the governors were angry at the meeting over Clark ’s comments, they decided not to engage him in a media war, which in their view may erode democracy’s gains.
The governors decided to slug it out with the Federal Government at the Supreme Court on the “illegality” of the Excess Crude Account.
They said they opted for outright legal solution since the two parties could not settle out of court.
A source in the NGF, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said the governors and National Assembly leaders will soon meet on some of the issues.
The source said: “We discussed the ongoing constitution amendment process in the National Assembly and we have decided to meet with the Assembly leadership on areas of disagreement.
“We believe dialogue and understanding could assist in fast-tracking the proposed amendments to the Constitution. Some of the views of the NGF are certainly different from that of the lawmakers.
“We will soon meet with the leaders of the National Assembly to iron out our differences.
“Most of the governors were angry that the elderstatesman could throw caution to the wind in writing off the Governors Forum. But we also came to the conclusion that Clark’s rage was a fall-out of the crisis within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He wanted to take some pound of flesh from some individuals.
On Excess Crude Account (ECA) suit between the Federal Government and the 36 states, the source said: “The governors have opted for an outright legal solution. We want the Supreme Court to make a pronouncement once and for all.
“We gave enough windows for political solutions, which have not worked. And if the court does not intervene, we may have to be going through this process all over.”