Appointment of judges should be merit-based, says Osinbajo

Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has again called for the reform of the appointment process for judges, saying it ought to be merit-based.

Osinbajo said there was a need for those aspiring to be judges to take a mandatory test to ensure that only competent people end up on the bench.

The Vice-President spoke at a webinar with the theme, “Developing an Institutional Concept of Justice in Nigeria,” organised by the law firm of Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN).

Osinbajo said, “We must take a second look at the appointment of judges. The merit-based system is necessary. We need to have mandatory test for them. We need to look at how our judges are selected.

“It is not enough to rise through the ranks in the judiciary with judges going to the Supreme Court from the appeal court. We must be able to bring in practicing lawyers and from the academic to become judges.

“We owe it to ourselves to change the rules. Change is necessary and reform of our judiciary process should be urgent.”

Sharing Osinbajo’s view, Olanipekun also said appointment to the Court of Appeal should not be only by promotion from the high court.

He said, “I reckon that judges can be appointed from the academia and the bar and not just based on promotion from one court to another. We have to resituate the profession. It belongs to all of us.”

Olanipekun, who decried judgments without justice coming from the Nigerian courts, also railed against the abuse of ex parte orders.

He said, “The time has come whereby we have to do something about frivolous ex parte applications otherwise ex parte applications will do something about us.”

Other speakers at the webinar included Prof. Fidelis Oditah (SAN, QC) and Mr Yemi Candide-Johnson (SAN).

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