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August 26, 2016

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  1. Executive Orders have generally crept in to our political lexicon in the last few months.
    The apparently strange presidential resort was more
    recently popularised by President Maverick and President
    Donald Trump of America. Erudite Professor and Acting President of Nigeria, Yemi Osibanjo, SAN,
    wasted no time in embracing it here and using it in its most luminous manner, plenitude and amplitude.

    Meaning of executive orders

    Executive Orders are orders issued by a president
    and directed towards officers and agencies of the
    government. Executive orders have the full force of law, based on the authority derived from statute or the Constitution itself.
    The ability to make such orders is also based on express or implied Acts
    of the Legislature that delegate to the president
    some degree of discretionary power.

    Origin of executive orders

    Executive orders have their origin in the United States of America.
    The first executive order was issued by George Washington on June 8, 1789, addressed to the heads
    of the federal departments, instructing them “to impress me with a full, precise, and distinct general idea of the affairs of the United States” in their fields.
    With the exception of William Henry Harrison, all presidents beginning with George Washington in 1789
    have issued orders that in general terms can be described
    as executive orders. Initially they took no set form.
    Consequently, such orders varied as to form and substance.

    Constitutional basis of executive orders

    The constitutional basis for Executive Order is the president’s broad powers to issue executive directives.
    According to the Congressional Research Service, there
    is no direct “definition of executive orders, presidential memoranda, and proclamations in the U.S. Constitution, there is, likewise, no specific provision authorizing their issuance.”

    But Article II of the U.S. Constitution (which is the equivalent of Section 5 of the Constitution of the
    Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999), vests executive powers in the president, makes him the Commander-in-Chief, and requires
    that the president “shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
    Laws can also give additional powers to the President.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has held that all executive orders from the President of the United
    States must be supported by the Constitution, whether from a clause, granting specific power, or by Congress, delegating
    such to the executive branch. Specifically, such orders must be rooted
    in Article II of the US Constitution or enacted by the congress
    in statutes. Attempts to block such orders have been successful at times when such orders exceeded the
    authority of the president or could be better handled through
    legislation.

    In Nigeria, as in the United States, the expression, executive
    order, is neither defined in the 1999 Constitution nor is
    it interpreted in any legislation of the National Assembly or House of Assembly of any state but, like in the USA, it is widely used.
    Professor E.O. Okebukola and A.A Kana, define the phrase, as executive order is
    a command as: “Executive order is a command directly given by the president to an executive agency, class of persons or body under the executive arm of government. Such a command is in furtherance of government policy or Act of the Legislature. The executive order may require the implementation of an action, set out parameters for carrying out specific duties, define the scope of existing legislation or be a subsidiary instrument within the contemplation of section 37 of the Interpretation Act”.

    According to Okebukola and Kana, Executive Orders have legal
    force only when they are based on the president’s constitutional or statutory authority.

    They are valid only where presidents act within the boundaries of their
    constitutional or statutory authority. The enabling legislative or constitutional authority
    may empower the president to use Executive Orders to perform
    strictly defined roles.

    The Legislature or Constitution can also confer wide discretionary power on the president
    to issue orders in certain matters. For instance, under Section 315 of the 1999 Constitution,
    the president and other appropriate authorities have the power to “make such modifications in the text of any existing law, as the appropriate authority considers necessary or expedient to bring that law into conformity with the provisions of this Constitution”.

    Underscoring this point, the Supreme Court, held in the case of AG, ABIA STATE but the court
    has not got the jurisdiction to take over the functions of such public officer by making
    its own order or declaration as against the statutory provisions.”

    In A.G. ANAMBRA STATE V. OKAFOR (1992) 2 NWLR (PT. 224) 396 AT 419, the Supreme Court states thus:-

    “In matters involving the exercise of statutory power, the function of courts begins
    only when it is alleged that the power has not
    been exercised in accordance with the law, once the person or
    authority or body on whom the statutory power is conferred has
    exercised, its powers under the statute, any citizen of Nigeria, who feels his rights
    are infringed thereby can by virtue of Section 6
    (6) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979,
    challenge the exercise of the power.” (Merchant Bank v. Federal Minister of Finance (1961) All N.L.R. 598; Egbuson v. Ikechukwu (1977) 6 S.C. 7 referred to and followed)

    Again in AJAKAIYE V. IDEHAI (1994) 13 NWLR (PT. 364) 8 NWLR 504 AT 525 to 526 the Supreme Court held:

    “Where there is a statutory provision for making an order
    or declaration and the making of same is reposed
    in a named office, whether Minister or Commissioner or
    indeed the President of the republic or the Governor of a State, such function cannot
    be usurped by the Court. The furtherest, a Court can so is to declare
    as to validity or otherwise of that order or declaration of a public officer, but the Court has not got the
    Jurisdiction to take over the functions of such public officer by making its own order or declaration as
    against the statutory provisions.”

  2. More Backlinks = Higher Rankings

    If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you’ll know that I’m a
    huge proponent of link building. As the data shows,
    this is one of the biggest factors associated with earning higher rankings in Google,
    and this is definitely what I’ve seen to be the case from my experience in running successful SEO campaigns.

    The chart quite clearly shows a gradual increase in the number
    of backlinks that a webpage has as you move higher up page 1 of Google.

    One of the traps that I often see people fall into is falling for the “create great content and you’ll rank” line that gets thrown about all too often. Great content isn’t enough.

    The long and short of it is: if you don’t
    have backlinks, you’re not going to rank.

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