Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said the elite in Nigeria influence the appointment of judges in Nigeria.
Osinbajo said this on Saturday at a webinar tagged, ‘Selection and appointment of judges: Lessons for Nigeria’, which was organised by Justice Research Institute, monitored by The Cable.
The vice president noted that Nigeria’s justice administration 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.”
Osibanjo said, “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.”
He, however, emphasised that 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.
He added, “ 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.”