Few weeks a go,a call was sent out to lawyers in Nigeria by the Bar association for show of interest in becoming a Supreme court Judge,not many took it seriously.The Nigerian Bar Association has released a list of lawyers who have been screened for the appointment among them Senior Advocates of Nigeria .In Nigeria,Judges build their career from the High Courts and sometimes Magistrate courts up to the Supreme court making it possible to have experienced hands in the apex court.With this move,many lawyers believe that inexperienced Judges might soon flood the bench.Some have spoken out against it in different fora as a knell for the Judiciary.
Over time,the mentality has always been that successful lawyers do not become judges(that is arguable) but with an economy hit by recession and corrupt money in low circulation causing dwindling fortune,that mentality is changing. With an anti corruption war which has seen many Senior Advocates of Nigeria and Senior lawyers facing criminal charges on counts of bribery to Judges,there seem to be unease and distrust in the whole legal community in Nigeria which will be made worseif lawyers are allowed to rise to the bench of the Highest court.
Today the Nigerian Bar Association,( NBA) has forwarded names of nine eligible applicants to the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, Judicial Service Commission, Walter Samuel Onnoghen, CFR, for appointment as Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. This followed a rigorous process of shortlisting done by a select committee chairmanned by President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, A B Mahmoud, SAN with eight other eminent lawyers as members. Applicants shortlisted by NBA for appointment as Justices of the Supreme Court are the following :
(1)Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN. Year of Call : 1978 State. : Anambra (2)Anthony Ikemefuna Idigbe, SAN, Year of Call : 1983 State. : Delta (3) Yunus Ustas Usman, SAN , Year of Call : 1983 State : Kogi (4)Babatunde Fagbohunlu, SAN. Year of Call : 1988 State. : Ondo
(5) Miannayaaja Essien, SAN, Year of Call : 1985 State. : Rivers (6)Awa Uma Kalu, SAN, Year of Call : 1978 State. : Abia
(7) Professor Awalu Hamish Yadudu Year of Call : 1979 State. : Kano (8)Tajudeen Oladoja Year of Call : 1985 State. : Kwara
(9) Ayuba Giwa. Year of Call : 1983 State. Edo
Eighty Nine Lawyers showed interest in the whole process.
The legal community awaits to see what happens next.