A retired High Court Judge in Kogi State, Justice Alaba Omalaye Ajileye has faulted the process of appointment of judicial officers in Nigeria. Justice Ajileye who x-rayed the judiciary Wednesday in Lokoja during a valedictory court session in his honour said the process of appointing judicial officers in Nigeria is shrouded in secrecy and clandestineness.
Citing evils associated with appointments, Justice Ajileye said there is no transparency in the process of appointing judicial officers.
“Another evil is that recommendations of Honourable Judges and Honourable Justices don’t count. The act of calling for recommendations looks to me like a ritual, exercised merely to fulfil all righteousness. Those who would be appointed would still be appointed with or without recommendations.
“The number of recommendations a candidate receives guarantees nothing for him. The third evil I have seen is that the person a candidate knows matters a lot. And that person must carry a lot of “weight.”
” The fourth evil is that the place where you come from also counts. In Nigerian parlance, it is called the federal character or quota system. There is nothing evil on the face of the principle of federal character. What is evil in it is the way the principle is applied by the functionaries of government. This underscores the point that it is the human being that makes or mars an institution” he stated.
He recalled that the Nigerian judiciary, at the apogee of its glory, withstood the tyranny of the military, armed with guns, stressing that, the Judiciary today has fallen flat before the majestic politicians, armed with Dollars and Naira.
Justice Ajileye said” It was a healthy judicial system in the days of yore, with a reputation for integrity and competence. This was mainly attributable to a fair system of appointment of judges in the superior judiciary wherein appointments were generally made on merit alone. The puzzling question here is, at what point did we get it wrong?”
While admonishing judges to free themselves from every form of influence, except law, Justice Ajileye said judges must liberate themselves from self-imposed shackles and fetters that inhibit independence.
“They can do this if they exhibit, at all times, requisite judicial character. The qualities of courage, firmness, integrity, uprightness, patience, open-mindedness, understanding of the law, compassion, humility, and courtesy should be inseparable from the personality” he added.
The retired High Court Judge appealed to Lawyers to protect and strengthen the independence of the judiciary by being vigilant and prepared to resist any external pressure, forces and interference in the judiciary.
In other news – Diri is not among governors opposing Buhari’s new naira policy – the Bayelsa govt
The Bayelsa State government has declared that the state Governor, Senator Douye Diri, was not among the group of 10 governors, G-10, opposing President Muhammadu Buhari on the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The State government while demanding an unreserved apology from a group of civil society organisations. Learn more