Vice President Yemi Osinbajo called for an independent process for appointing judges.
He said this was crucial for judicial reforms, given the important roles they play in the political system, the economy, social justice and democracy.
Osinbajo spoke at the Justice Research Institute (JRI) virtual roundtable on Saturday on the topic “Selection and Appointment of Judges: Lessons for Nigeria”.
Dame Anne Rafferty, QC, President of Judicial College, Royal Courts of Justice in England and Wales; The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Judge Tanko Muhammad; The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, attended and contributed to it.
Osinbajo said the integrity of the justice system is crucial for everything in society.
He emphasized the need for stakeholders to engage in an honest and frank discussion that examines the challenges and prospects.
The VP said there were “different contours to this question. But one thing that stands out that we need to focus our minds on is the question of the integrity of the justice system.
Osinbajo noted that justice arbitrates all economic issues, commercial disputes, among others.
“It is at the heart of social justice; the maintenance of citizens’ rights; at the heart of democracy as we see it today. The tribunal decides who was correctly elected and who was not, ”he said.
He added that the question of who makes these 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 noted.
On the administration of justice, the vice president called for talks “between the legal profession itself, the judiciary, the executive, the legislature and the many elite interests in our society. “.
He instructed Nigerians to collectively ask important questions, including: “Why do we have to appoint an honest arbitrator? Why do we need honest judges? We all need to sit down together and ask these questions. ”
Osinbajo said stakeholders need to agree on: an objective process; rigorous examination; interview all those who apply to become judges.
On comparing the Nigerian system with others, he observed that “there is no system that we are looking for where people are perfect”.
The Vice President noted, however, that it would be unfair to conclude that the whole problem lies with bad judges.
“You cannot choose the justice system alone for censorship for some of the failures of our system of administration of justice,” he insisted.