The recommendations by the National Judicial Council (NJC) of appointments of new judges from across the state of the Federation were greeted with wide applause from across all strata of the society, particularly those who have immediate engagements bordering on dispensation of justice.
It is a notorious fact that shortage of judicial officers at all tiers in the judiciary has affected, negatively, the quest for effective, efficient and timeous administration of justice in the country.
This deplorable situation is a cause of deep frustration to both legal practitioners and litigants. It is therefore, not surprising to read the news concerning the diligent and patriotic response from many State Governors, who acted with promptitude by swearing-in the new judges, consequent on the approval and recommendations by the NJC.
Oyo state has had her share of the debilitating impact occasioned by the dearth of judicial officers. It becomes very worrisome to note, with palpable anguish, certain preferences for inexplicable delay on the part of the Executive. This attitude, which almost rendered nugatory the process of the appointment of judges, has had a devastating effect on everyone who cares for justice and decency. Any reasonable and keen observer of events would have thought that a state which handled the issue of appointment most sloppily would have taken some redemptive measures to mitigate the hardship inflicted by crude partisanship.
The Oyo State judiciary just started a New Legal Year without the judges, a direct consequences of this commission by the Executive.
This is unacceptable to us as Ministers in the temple of justice. Litigants, who look up to the judiciary for succor, are the worst hit in this debacle.
I therefore call on the Attorney General of the state to immediately impress it on the Governor to put machinery in motion for the swearing in of the new judges without delay. The State should also commence a new process which culminates in the appointment of new judges. Oyo State should earn her reputation as the Pacesetter.
Ibrahim Lawal is the Head of Chambers, Olujinmi & Akeredolu