X-Raying the Performance of the Judiciary in 2022
A major event that attracted public attention to the judicial arm of government early in the year 2022 was the removal of the Ibadan Twenty-One Kings installed by late Governor Abiola Ajimobi by an Oyo State High Court.
Senator Lekan Balogun and other members of the Olubadan-in-Council who were crowned Obas in 2017 had written to their lawyer, Kunle Sobaloju, to withdraw their case challenging a consent judgment on their elevation from high chiefs to Obaship status.
Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde had asked the kings to lay to rest the controversy surrounding their elevation by withdrawing the case, to pave way for Senator Lekan Balogun’s ascension to the throne of Olubadan following the demise of Oba Saliu Adetunji.
Also, justice Ladiran Akintola of an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan dismissed the suit filed by Deputy Governor. Rauf Olaniyan to stop the House of Assembly from removing him from office. Justice Akintola ruled that the House of Assembly had not breached the provisions of the constitution on the removal of the Deputy Governor.
At the Federal level, In June, 14 justices of the Supreme Court addressed a joint petition to former Chief Justice, Tanko Mohammed which leaked out to the public, the first of its kind in the 58-year history of the Apex Court. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who was one of the petitioners, eventually replaced JusticeTanko Mohammed as head of the Supreme Court.
On assumption of office, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola said he would not condone any abuse of power and public trust from judicial officers.
Justice Ariwoola said this at the swearing-in of members of the 2023 Election Petition Tribunals in Abuja
Also, 2022 was characterized by some interesting rulings including one ordering the release of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu from jail, while courts ruled prison terms for the Inspector General of Police and the Chief of Army Staff for what the judges deemed contempt of court.
In an interview, a cross-section of Ibadan residents said the judiciary in Nigeria was rising up to meet the expectations of Nigerians.
Speaking with Radio Nigeria, Ibadan-based legal Practitioners, Mr. James Ajibola and Mrs. Adenike Ibitara said there was still room for improvement in the dispensation of justice in the country
They maintained that the Judiciary needed to be properly funded and provided with facilities that would enhance its performance.
Barristers Ajibola and Ibitara, therefore, urged the executive arm to adhere strictly to the tenets of separation of power, to ensure that the freedom of the Judiciary is not hampered by undue interference.