Saturday, 29 June 2013

[RuleofLaw-Nigeria] And women are taking over the judiciary]

The surprise is that it has taken the media this long to pick up on this trend. It is the long term result of a political economy that the men themselves created.

The Bench in post-colonial Nigeria was historically drawn from a mix of the private Bar, the civil service and the public service. Take the Bench that sat on Awolowo v. Shagari in 1979 for instance: Fatayi Williams came from the civil service as did Uwais and Obaseki, irikefe too. Eso, Idigbe combined experience from private bar and public service. Nnamani was the first (and so far only SAN) to go to the Bench.

When these men were in the civil service, it was respectable and you could send your kids to decent school as an honest civil servant.

Then we dis-mantled it. And the military preferred their judges without minds of their own. So, they made the civil service dependent and far from respectable & sourced most of their judges from it. A "tradition" began.

Meanwhile, the men, thinking the civil service no lover offers decent economic prospects and comforts, opted fully for money making in the private bar and politics. We abandoned the "stability" (many say stagnation) of the civil service for women who need it to juggle life/work/family obligations.

In the past, the DPP, DCL, Director Legal Drafting, CR, SGPS, guaranteed jumping off points onto the higher Bench, were all men. Today, no man wants to pay the price it takes in time and service, to get there. So, when the folks who do the appointing look around, the candidates they find are all female.

When you look at the top 12 in Lagos, for instance, only Olateru-Olagbegi has private Bar experience: he was Chairman of the Lagos Bar. It's not much different in any of the other States.

Lawyers like to claim that there are no ladies at the Bar, so the men shouldn't mind this then. I still look forward to the date when we'll swear in our first female Attorney-General of the Federation though. It remains a mighty glass ceiling.

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