Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the elite in Nigeria desperately attempt to control and sway the appointment of judges in the country.
Osinbajo said this at a webinar tagged: ‘Selection and appointment of judges: Lessons for Nigeria’, which was organised by Justice Research Institute on Saturday.
According to the vice president, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the Nigerian elite do all they can to influence the appointment of judges to suit their own purpose.
He stated that the country’s judicial system is under severe pressure from the elite who want to get ahead at all costs.
He said: “We have an elite and when I speak of the elite, I speak of the Nigerian elite both political, religious, commercial/business, etc. Everyone wants to get ahead, we want to own things, we want to control things and we want to own the judges too.”
“The Nigerian elite want to be sure of all the outcomes and they want all the outcomes to favour them. That is the same pressure that we have with respect to the federal character.
“So the federal character is no longer necessarily seen as choosing the best from a particular zone or a particular state; it is the interest in that state or that zone who want to further their own purposes that would want to come together to ensure that the person who is appointed is not necessarily the best, but he is the one that is most suited to their own purposes. This is the problem that we have.
“And I want to say that this is a natural human feeling. Most people in the world would rather have a situation where everything worked in their favour.”
Osinbajo said there must be an honest conversation among the legal profession, the judiciary, the executive, the legislature and the elite on why it is important to appoint the best judicial officers.
“If we leave it to the system that is going on at the moment; we are clearly headed in the wrong direction because interest whether private, political or group influences how judges are appointed.
“We must agree to an objective process to rigorously examine, test and interview all of those who want to come forward as judges,” the vice president said.