The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, yesterday canvassed for a sweeping reform of the judicial system, particularly in the selection and appointment of judges in Nigeria.
Speaking at a virtual roundtable engagement organised by the Justice Research Institute (JRI) with the theme: “Selection and appointment of Judges, lessons for Nigeria” under the Law and Policy series of JRI, the vice president said this has become imperative, given the significant roles judges play in the polity, economy, social justice and democracy itself.
A transparent and merit based appointment of judges, he said is central to everything we do. Hear him
“It is central to everything – how our economy works because our judiciary arbitrates all economic issues, commercial disputes, etc.; it is central to social justice, to the maintenance of the rights of citizens, central to democracy as we see it today. The court decides who was properly elected and who was not.
“So, the question of those who make those decisions, how they are appointed, who they are, is absolutely important. If people feel that justice is impossible, they will lose hope in the system and may resort to self-help”, he said.
He said the onus is on the elites, both in public and private sectors, to sit down and have a frank discussion on how to improve the system.
“We must agree to an objective process. To rigorously examine, to test, to interview all of those who come forward to become judges. We must agree to an independent process, he said.
The Justice Research Institute, an affiliate of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Nigeria and Public Interest Network, New York, USA, is a public/private think tank on justice policy and research. Established in 2005, it provides research, resources and communication support to the government for advocacy and reform in critical sectors.