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‘Vast Trust Deficit In Judiciary’, Odinkalu Reacts To CJN’s Phone Call Rebuttal

Odinkalu asserted the apex court and judges should come to terms with the "vast trust deficit" and put countermeasures to try and address the growing issues.


Prof Chidi Odinkalu appears on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday, July 19, 2023.

 

The former Chairman of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, has said the public has lost its trust in the judicial system.

His remarks come as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, claims he did not have a telephone conversation with President Bola Tinubu, or anyone else, on the ongoing Presidential Election Petition on the 2023 election.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday, Odinkalu asserted the apex court and judges should come to terms with their “vast trust deficit” and put countermeasures in place to address the growing issues.

“The judicial system reflects a trust deficit that has been long in the making and it is not one thing or an event, it is a build-up,” he said.

“The cumulative effect of all of this is that people no longer trust judges.”

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Asked if it was a case of mudslinging aimed at the CJN and other judges, the human rights activist dispelled the notion saying, “There is a problem with judicial credibility and this credibility crisis arises almost always in party political cases and election petitions.

“It goes back to the 1979 elections. Since we have been in the election system, judges have been increasingly playing a role in adjudicating election disputes.

“Up to 2003, I think it was tolerable. After 2003, we went into a new territory in which judges started deciding who won and lost elections, started adding and subtracting numbers, and with that, the levels of money being thrown at judges in order to buy decisions began to change.”

On possible solutions to the growing issue, Odinkalu stated the CJN should first desist from any form of nepotism.

“The Chief Justice should not be appointing his son the judge of a Federal High Court, no matter how good his son is,” he said.

“There is nothing hereditary about judging and the senior judges should stop doing insider trading with judicial appointments.

“As a country we have to say enough is enough the buying of the judiciary is why these forms of allegations are being traded.”