The 7 man Courtroom Mail Person of the year committee on the 24th of December 2023 reached a decision and voted unanimously Prof Chidi Odinkalu and Bayo Akinlade as the 2023 Courtroom Mail Persons of the year 2023.

The judiciary in Nigeria has been in bad standing in the past year. In a Profession where alot of lawyers shy away from calling a spade a spade for fear of whatever, two voices in the past year have remained consistent in calling out the necessary stakeholders in the justice system including the Nigerian Bar Association. Lawyers who can do this today are in short supply.

Ironically,most lawyers secretly applaud their courage for doing what many of them could not publicly do.
The Courtroom Mail person of the year committee decided on the two for their courageous stand on issues affecting Lawyers, Justice system and the general public.

In the fine tradition of Courtroom Mail since 2009, it monitors the activities of Lawyers and Law institutions every year to recognise those who have added the most value ,promoted the best value or led a disruptive change.

In 2009, Tunji Gomez was the Courtroom Mail man of the year for his bold stance on the abolition of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria for being oppressive. This led to the total overhaul of the criteria for the award.

In 2010 Chijioke Okoli the then Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos and Rotimi Akeredolu SAN were nominated for an outstanding leadership they introduced to bar leadership but the winners were never announced because Courtroom Mail came out with a policy of not honouring people who were still serving in any capacity.

In 2011, Funke Aboyade of THISDAY LAWYER was the Courtroom Mail person of the year. Her success in THISDAY LAWYER redefined the way lawyers, law events were projected to the public. She also redefined the way Lawyers consume Law related news. She was nominated alongside George Etomi, the pioneer Chair of NBA-Section on business Law, Funk Adekoya, Obi Okwusogu.

In 2012 some lawyers went to court to protect lawyers from the exorbitant practice fees introduced at the time, we called them the Crusaders. They became Courtroom Mail person of the year with Mfon Usoro who holds the title sponsorship of Lawyers Table Tennis Open, the biggest sporting event among lawyers in Nigeria.

In 2013, no one was nominated and in 2014 Mfon Usoro became the Law person of the year. That year , and the year before she sponsored winners of the Table Tennis Tournament to the Conference of the International Bar Association and continued after two years.

In 2015, no nomination came and in 2016,Austin Alegeh was made the man of the year for introducing a game changing constitution for Lawyers which gave all the lawyers in Nigeria the freedom and right to vote and decide who leads them.

In 2017, Titilayo Osagie lost her seven year rule in the women category of Lawyers Table Tennis Open (MFON USORO) cup to Yetunde Martins. That moment the whistle blew and Yetunde rose to power was electrifying. What intrigued us was also Titilayo’s excitement as she lost to power. As the hall of the tournament erupted in jubilation, Titilayo’s sportsmanship stood out boldly in the positive chaos that followed her defeat. She is nominated as a person of the year with Viola-Nuela Echebima.

Viola-Nuela Echebima graduated from the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 2016 with a First Class. She was also the best graduating student. At the Nigerian Law School she also made First Class and emerged as the Best Graduating Student out of the 4,294

Viola, has become a source of inspiration to women and young girls coming after her. With her feat, Courtroom Mail describes her as a hero of women on this day of International Day of women. That is why she is the 2017 Courtroom Mail person of the year and the 2018 Woman of the year.

In 2018 Amasa Firdaus and the Kenya Supreme Court were Courtroom Mail persons of the year.

Amasa Firdaus was denied entrance to the International Conference Centre, Abuja on December 12, 2017, where the call to bar programme was to take place for refusing to remove her hijab.
The Body of Benchers and Nigerian Law School said her hijab broke their dress codes so she was not call to bar.
The University of Ilorin law graduate objected to removing her hijab, which she claimed was an infringement on her human rights. The incident stirred intense controversies in Nigeria which divided lawyers along different schools of thought. The then President of the Nigerian Bar Association, A. B Mahmoud stood by her and said that Amasa should have been called to bar regardless of her hijab.
She was nominated as Courtroom Mail person of the year for her resilience and courage in standing by what she believes.
The Nigerian Law School on the 10th of July 2018 called to bar 1,550 students. The school also called to Bar 12 other graduates from the previous 2018 final examinations.Among the 12 graduates was Firdausa Amasa, the law graduate who challenged the restriction on the use of hijab during call-to-bar ceremonies.

The Supreme Court of Kenya is today Africa’s boldest Supreme Court. The annulment of the 2017 Presidential election was unprecedented in Africa. That decision has given audacity to courts across the country and has raised hope in the judiciary in Kenya and the entire Africa.
The Court under the leadership of Justice David Maraga,has raised its profile with bold decisions that asserted the independence of the Judiciary in Kenya putting the court out as a leading court.
Ironically, while Firdaus is nominated for her defiance in asserting her right to wear her Hijab at the Call to Bar Ceremony of the Nigerian Law School, the Supreme Court of Kenya recently ruled that a school has a right to determine its rules including the wearing of Hijab.
The students in the case were suspended in 2014 by St Paul’s Kiwanjani Secondary School in Isiolo ,Kenya for wearing the head covering worn by Muslim women. The school is sponsored by the Methodist Church of Kenya.
In a triumph for the Methodist Church, the Supreme Court in a majority decision said the ruling by the Appellate court allowing the students was against the school uniform policy.

No one qualified for the award in 2019,2020,2021 and 2022

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