If It Would Serve The Interest Of Justice For Activists To Be Appointed As Judges Of Courts, Then It Is Good For Justice!
By Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.
The current situation of Nigeria where the rights of the common man seem not be respected even the common man gets discouraged to approach a court of law to seek remedy against any alleged contravention of his fundamental rights despite the fact that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has conferred such right of seeking redress on him call for necessary action. This paper is of the firm view that perhaps, where activists are considered for appointment to the judiciary as judges (inclusive at the inferior courts), the situation of some of the common man’s mind that ‘I do not trust the court!’ would reduce! Also, this paper is of the aim of encouraging human rights activists not to relent in seeking appointment to the bench for they have great roles to play as judges in the bench.
‘Activism’ (the root word of an ‘activist’) is defined by the Webster online dictionary as ‘a doctrine or practice that emphasises direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue’. The roles of a human rights activist are that he emphasises direct vigorous action in support of human rights without fear or favour or intimidation or influences. He fights and or canvasses social justice. He fights and canvasses the promotion of justice by all. He fights and canvasses the upholding of the principles of rule of law. He fights and canvasses his support for democracy. He fights and canvasses accountability and transparency of office holders be it private or public person. He fights and canvasses respect for the human rights, fundamental rights and the rights that man or citizens are entitled to under the law.
He fights and canvasses for the defence of the less privileged and the oppressed. He is a freedom fighter as a human rights activist. It is his principle that no one should be under the dehumanising condition whereas, every man is born free and to enjoy freedom as a right. He fights to ensure that all the fundamental rights and human rights as well as socio-economic rights of Nigerian citizens are enjoyed without interference except as permitted to be derogated from by law. It is my humble view that all the above stated qualities of a human rights activist (I believe) can still be achieved while on the bench as a judge! If all human rights activists are to be just lawyers, then, their functions are likely to be fruitless as there might be no one on the bench to make their dreams of fight for justice to be actualized by a honest and sound ruling or judgment or judicial intervention!
When I wrote an article on the title ‘WHY I MIGHT DECIDE TO BE A JUDGE OF A HIGH COURT AT 10 YEARS OF CALL TO BAR!’ published on thenigerialawyer.com among other media platforms, I got some comments about the regretful situation of appointment to the judiciary especially to the High Court of States and the FCT- Abuja, in Nigeria! Some have their grievances on disqualification for no reason even though they have qualities required for a judge! Though, I do not know the truth of those comments made as I am unable to hear from the two sides of the story, I would notwithstanding advise those persons not to relent in their efforts and to rather keep determined and passionate about their ambition, while they continue to pray to God Almighty for His support as I believe that whatever God Almighty decides can never be altered by anyone! If it is God’s desire that they would be appointed, no human or factor shall be able to reason or attempt to disqualify them!
Permit me to state also that human rights activism should be guided with good conscience and the mind to reform and not to corrupt the system! So, those who have personal interest to benefit should avoid tarnishing the image and integrity of those who have genuine interest in actualizing the true human rights activism for the sake of God and for the sake of humanity, even though their appointment has some other economic, e.t.c. benefits.
Finally, I would advise those in authority of appointing persons qualified to be appointed to the judiciary as judges of High Courts (inclusive of the inferior courts) to ensure that their actions and criteria for qualification and or disqualification are based on good faith, transparency, fairness, fear of God, rule of law, interest of justice, the need to sanitise the judiciary from bad individuals, corruptions and other vices, among other considerations for the appointment and not filled with nepotism or favouritism, e.t.c. this is good for justice! In all, we hold accountability to God Almighty on what we do during this very short time and opportunity that He has given us on this earth so we must be very conscious in our actions!