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Anyaoku, Iyizoba others lament executive meddling in judiciary


Eminent Nigerians have expressed sadness over the meddling of the executive in the judicial arm of government, calling for the amendment of law to insulate it from involvement in political litigations.

They lamented that the country’s judicial system had been a target of censure from many sections of the society recently.

The dignitaries who spoke at the inaugural dialogue and book launch in honour of Justice Chinwe Iyizoba were former Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Folake Solanke; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vice presidential candidate in the last election, Peter Obi; Justice of Supreme Court, Amins Adamus; and economist, Tony Elumelu.

Specifically, Iyizoba lamented that the executive arm of government was choking and has infiltrated the judicial system.

She said: “These are indeed precarious times for the judiciary as recent events have shown. Any judge who retires on attainment of the statutory age healthy and without any dent to his reputation must humbly on bended knees thank the Lord Almighty for seeing him through the dangers of the times.

“The denigration of the judiciary today is as a result of the inability of the political class to get their acts together. They have made the judiciary an integral part of their political manipulations by resorting to litigation for every single election. Perhaps, it would be better in order to preserve the integrity and reputation of the main stream judiciary to amend our laws to insulate it from involvement in political cases by constituting special courts for the purpose.”

Anyaoku urged both the executive and judiciary to ensure that their conducts and pronouncements did not throw up aspersions on the integrity and independence of the country’s judiciary.

“For some time now, our country’s judiciary has been a target of critical comments from many sections of our society. As one who has observed for more than four decades the work of judiciaries in over 50 Commonwealth countries, I must say that I am concerned at the extent of unfavourable public perception of the current functioning of our judiciary in our media.

“I therefore call on the executive and judicial arms of our government to do more to ensure that their conduct and pronouncements do not give cause for casting aspersions on the integrity and independence of the country’s judiciary.”

According to Obi, politics in Nigeria is skewed and the quality of political leadership in the country low.

“I am a politician, but those who are supposed to be inside are outside and those that are supposed to be outside are inside. So, we have a situation where the drivers are the conductors and the conductors drive; if we continue this way, there will be accident. We need to change it; and in doing so, we need more dedicated women in politics, we need more dedicated people in governance because if the politics is wrong, then everything is wrong.”

Elumelu in his address urged the government to put in place the right institutions, structures, policy and framework to ensure that the private sector made up of individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporates can thrive.

“We need power, infrastructure, education and healthcare. The private sector has shown willingness to work with the public sector to ensure consensus among stakeholders and that the right business-friendly policies, institutions and investment environment are created to ensure that Nigeria lives up to its potential.

“We must continually advocate good governance, infallible institutions and more private sector and public sector cohesion in policy-making to ensure that the aim of sustainable development is achieved in Nigeria.”

Solanke called for women’s participation in governance for the progress of the country.

“We have a duty to encourage young girls to accept the challenge that public office should not be monopoly of men. Women have proved that given the opportunity, they can excel in all theatres of life.”

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