Connect with us


The Oracle: Critiquing Judges and Judgements: The Dividing Line (Pt. 1)



By Mike Ozekhome


The Nigerian Judiciary has in recent times, been in the eye of the storm, as it faces a barrage of criticisms over some judgments by the courts, especially Supreme Court, which came under very close scrutiny. This has generated much ruckus, donnybrook, and rhubarb.

Some of these judgements have drawn the ire of all manners of critics, some genuine; some analytical; some pseudo; and some political. Some critics directed needless crude and caustic umbrage at the very persons of the revered learned Justices of the apex Court, over what they perceived as unfair, or overtly political verdicts. Regrettably, some of those attacks were caustic, bizarre, uncouth, derogatory and went too far. Many crossed the fine dividing line of decency between constructive and scholarly criticism (which is permissible after delivery of judgments); and direct personal attacks on the judexes who delivered the judgments(which is not permissible under any circumstance). The questions are: where, how or when do we draw this thin line between fair critiquing of judgements and going for the jugular of the the Judge? Does such a line even exist at all, either legally or otherwise? What remedies are available to judicial officers exposed to severe public censure, and even odium and ridicule on account of their judicial acts of deciding cases? Are they simply helpless and powerless? Do such sanctions include committing authors of such vile criticisms to prison for contempt, albeit ex facie curie (outside the court)? Are such authors liable to face disciplinary measures through the NBA Disciplinary Committee (where they are lawyers)? These are the issues this thesis attempts to provide answers to.


Let me state right from the onset and within the confines of this abstract, my own humble position in this rather lengthy dissertation. I believe judicial opinions and judgments can be scrutinised, criticised, and critiqued after delivery thereof. This is scholarship which opens up new jurisprudential vistas. Critiquing helps deepen and widen the democratic space because court decisions affect the entire society. I do not however subscribe to piercing the veil of the judgments themselves to attack the Judex who delivered the said judgments by questioning their motives, integrity, intellect, assumed political or other filial leanings, or backgrounds, for such judicial decisions. That goes beyond the bounds of decency and crosses lines of intellectual interrogation of such judgements. That also amounts to leaving the message for the messenger; deliberately hitting a player’s leg rather than the ball, in a football match. Such attitude- whether from lawyers or members of the larger society- must be deprecated, denounced and condemned in the strongest words possible. I so do, most respectfully.


The greatest contribution of the judicial mind is usually deciphered, not from the final result of a case, but from the judicial opinion itself. It is the duty of every lawyer, academic, and even members of the society, to analyse, interrogate and critique judicial opinions embedded in judgements after they have been delivered. Learned journals, columns in newspapers, Ph.D thesis and dissertations; the print and electronic media; and lately, the social media, are employed in this. This is the very core of scholarship and legal education. Such literary criticisms are aimed at pointing out the “defects” and the “beauties” of such judgments.

Mr. Swift in his “A Tale of a Tub” tells us that a “true critique is a discoverer and collector of a writer’s fault”. He did not say “fault of the writer which has to do with his person and persona (and is thus not permitted); but the fault of his works” (which is permitted). Indeed such criticisms and interrogations help Judges to perform better. I will, anon, show numerous cases in which Judges have been attacked in their persons across the world, and even in Nigeria; but which I, as a person, lawyer, SAN, and social critic, do not agree with. There are many more reasons for allowing decent, genuine, and well-researched criticisms and interrogations of judgments after delivery.

The Judiciary, like the Legislature and Executive (as created in sections 6,4 and 5, respectively, of the 1999 Constitution, as amended), is subject to the tripartite doctrine of Separation of Powers- a doctrine most eloquently popularised in 1748 by Baron de Montesquieu, a great French philosopher. Their judgments are therefore subject to the same public criticisms as are legislative and executive acts. They must pass through the same crucible, rigour, and accountability as the other two arms. The Judiciary cannot be dressed in the cloak of infallibility. See Motors Ltd v Adesanya (1989) 3 NWLR (pt. 109) 250. The due administration of justice is a serious matter of public interest which involves members of the entire public as ultimate beneficiaries and consumers of the effects of such judgment. Law as the recurring decimal in our individual and collective lives is too serious a matter to be left alone in the hands of only Judges and lawyers (the Bench and the Bar). Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr (“Part of the Law”), in a powerful speech delivered in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1897, put it most poignantly when he said, “the prophecies of what the court will do and nothing more pretentious, are what I mean by the law”. He did not stop there. He further argued that “the law is the witness and external deposit of our moral life. Its history is the history of the moral development of the race. The practice of it in spite of popular jest, tends to make good citizens and good men”. Holmes (also called “The Great Dissenter”; are Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Legal historian, and Philospher of The School of Legal Realism), thus advocated judicial restraint. He, it was, who stated that the concept of “clear and present danger” is the only basis for limiting the right of freedom of speech. So, when members of the public critique court judgements fairly and decently, they are merely exercising their right to freedom of expression (section 39 of the 1999 constitution), to hold opinions, and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference. That surely cannot be criminalised.

However, such critiquing must be fair, reasonable, responsible and must pass through the acid test of bona fides, rigorous and intellectual interrogation. It must not be anchored on sheer vulgar, abusive, and offensive vituperations; rude expletives; or disrespectful name-calling. It must shun revilement and chastisement. There is, perhaps, a more serious reason why courts should be kept on their judicial toes to deliver justice-driven, rather than technicality-dependent judgments. Court decisions impact business, economy, and foreign direct investment. No responsible foreign investor will put his hard-earned money in a climate of unfair judgments or prolonged disputes. This was perhaps why Lord Atkins once told us that “Justice is not a cloistered virtue. She must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken comments of the ordinary men” (Ambard vs AG of Trinidad and Tobago (1936) AC 322)


There is a sense in which courts are, in the words of George Alger, “peculiarly the subject of criticism of experts.” These “experts” are no more than lawyers and fellow Judges. In the former case, according to him, “lawyers who appeal from a lower court to a higher court are engaged in criticizing a Judge who was responsible for an unsatisfactory decision. The appeal Judges are paid by the state to act as critics of their brethren in the courts below”.


A graphic illustration of courts criticising themselves, using the internal mechanism of appeals, is the Supreme Court case of MENAKAYA vs. MENAKAYA (2001) 16 NWLR (pt 738) 203. In the lead judgment of the apex court (delivered by Mohammed, JSC, as he then was), it minced no words, when it held that: “it is a misdirection for a trial Judge to give judgment on an issue on which there is no evidence adduced whatsoever . . . It is plain, therefore, that judgment of Ononiba J, having been written without any evidence supporting the decision is void. Equally the majority judgment of the Court of Appeal which affirmed a void decision is also a nullity.” The contributory judgment of Ogundare, JSC, was even more breathtaking. He moaned: “I find myself having painfully to observe that there are other portions and passages of the judgment which are clearly inappropriate in a judgment intended as a sober and sublime reflection. Admittedly, allowance must be made for the peculiar sense of narrative of individual Judges. Some make theirs rhapsodically on purpose, as was obviously demonstrated in the case in question. But even so, I think it will be of much profit if journeys in light-hearted digressions are not made a prominent feature in any judgment, particularly of a superior court, even to the extent that the real issues are missed or misunderstood. That was the position in the present case.”


In March 2020, the Supreme Court refused the request of Chief Emeka Ihedioha, former Governor of Imo State, to set aside its earlier judgment which had declared Chief Hope Uzodinma of the APC Governor of Imo state. Ihedioha’s team of lawyers had argued that Uzodinma deceived the Supreme Court with his self-tabulated result from 388 polling units, which made the number of voters in Imo state outnumber the accredited voters for the election (which was 368).

The apex court led by the then CJN, Tanko Mohammed, held that it lacked powers to sit on appeal over its own judgment delivered on merit and in accordance with the dictates of the law.


 “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things”. (Winston Churchill).

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Voice of Emancipation: Nigeria’s New President




By Kayode Emola

In less than 48 hours Nigeria will welcome a new President, charged with handling its affairs for the next four years. Yet among the many challenges awaiting the new president, whether Nigeria itself can even survive another four years remains to be seen. There is no doubt that the Tinubu/Shettima presidency will need more than courage to keep Nigeria united for the full duration of their elected term.

Only time will tell whether Tinubu and Shettima will be sworn in come May 29, or whether we will instead have an interim government. However, one thing of which we are certain is that the era of Muhammad Buhari is over, never to be experienced again. Those who have survived living under Buhari’s misrule in Nigeria for the last eight years deserve an award for endurance.

We must not allow the expected swearing-in of a Yoruba man as Nigeria’s president on Monday 29 to make us complacent. Indeed, my Yoruba people, our task has just doubled.

Nigeria’s future is now looking more imperiled than ever before. The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) are already threatening to declare their own independent Biafra nation if Tinubu is sworn in come May 29. And the Biafra campaigners are not the only disgruntled people within the country. The vast majority of our Yoruba people and even the Hausa people are becoming embittered with the trajectory Nigeria has taken since independence. At this point now, the new president must decide if Nigeria will continue as it is, or ask the indigenous people to decide their future.

It is increasingly evident that Nigeria is not a sustainable venture, and that a trading post cannot become a country that can endure the test of time. The people within Nigeria never decided to unite and become a country, so trying to hold them to ransom can never succeed.

I will therefore urge the incoming president to rethink his policies if he has not thought about a peaceful way in which Nigeria’s dissolution can be established. Powering through and hoping that he can hold Nigeria together like his predecessor Buhari did will definitely not stand the test of time.

To my fellow Yoruba people who are singing hallelujah that a Yoruba man is going to be president. I want us to know that just as Buhari is leaving the Presidential seat come Monday 29, Tinubu will also not be president for life. When he leaves what will be the fate of the Yoruba people or the other nationalities that makes up Nigeria.

At this juncture in our history, it would be the time to give the indigenous peoples of Nigerians the opportunity to determine their future in a constitutional conference. Nigeria has gone past its due date and must now be prepared for decommissioning just like several countries such as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc has done in the past. If not, a dysfunctional disengagement may lead to utter chaos if not another civil considering the damage the country is currently doing to the lives of millions of frustrated youths. The rate of poverty is not abating with the currency being devalued on a daily basis putting more strain on the people’s finances

The handlers of Nigeria must acknowledge that the unitary system being practiced in Nigeria has utterly failed the people. The people must now be handed a lifeline in order to salvage a future for themselves and their future generations. Anything short of that may mean Nigeria may go the way other African countries such as Somalia and South Sudan etc have divided with years of bitter civil war which has resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives.

Yoruba people should not shout ‘Uhuru’ yet because one of us is sitting in ‘Aso rock’. If history has thought us anything, whoever becomes president of Nigeria is there for themselves and not necessarily representing their constituents. That Tinubu will be president does not stop the call for an independent Yoruba nation, if anything, the call for an independent Yoruba nation should now become louder and clearer to send a strong signal to the local and international communities that the Yoruba people have finally made up their mind to leave Nigeria.

Continue Reading


DNV: Namibia Welcomes First Digital Nomads




By Dolapo Aina

According to Citizen Remote, “A digital nomad visa is a temporary permit that allows visitors to stay in a country while they work remotely. Multiple countries offer these sorts of visas, and most of them have a duration of twelve months, with the possibility to extend your stay. While they may not be for everyone, a digital nomad visa allows many remote workers to travel the world while they work from the comfort of their computers. They also help the countries impulse their economy by having foreigners stay for extended periods.”

Several benefits and fallouts of having digital nomads in a country include but not limited to positive country branding by the digital nomads who are residents in their host country. Digital nomads tend to amplify messages the host country might have been trying to get across to potential travellers. On the African Continent, only a few countries have latched on to Digital Nomads and Digital Nomad visas (and it is noteworthy to state that some African countries might not term it Digital Nomad Visas but have something in that guise.)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant fallouts, digital nomads and remote work have increased exponentially globally and in Africa particularly.

According to the Harvard School of Business, with the global shift towards remote work over the past three years, approximately forty-seven countries have developed digital nomad visa programmes. On the African Continent, a few countries offer Digital Nomad Visa. These countries are and in no particular order: Cape Verde, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles. Other countries on the African Continent have something within this category but officially, it is designated as Digital Nomad Visa.

On Tuesday, 9th of May 2023, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board announced and welcomed Namibia’s first Digital Nomads.

According to a statement signed by Ms. Catherine Shipushu, who is the senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, “Namibia officially recorded her first digital nomads just five months after the official launch of the country’s Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) on 11 October 2022. The programme was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Security (MHAISS) and the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), with the aim of enhancing economic activity in the country. The first two digital nomad visa applications were approved on Tuesday, 14 February 2023.”

The statement further revealed that the Digital Nomad Visa programme aims to capitalise on the growing global remote workforce by offering location-independent foreign professionals the chance to live, work, and experience Namibia for up to six months. These digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, but without usurping jobs meant for Namibians. Early results are encouraging, with over 121 enquiries about the programme recorded so far. Of this number a total of 20 applications were received, out of which nine were approved, with five rejections. The reasons for rejection were made known to include; applicants who do not meet the income requirements of two thousand dollars per month, and are thus unable to prove that they can effectively sustain themselves while in Namibia. Other applications were rejected because they were submitted while the applicants were already in Namibia on a different legal status such as a Tourist Visa, or they arrived in the country before approval of their application.

According to Ms. Catherine Shipushu; “The launch of the Digital Nomad Visa earned Namibia international praise, from Cape Town to Germany and as far as Australia. Additionally, we have witnessed a surge in queries and applications for the DNV through our website, further demonstrating the growing global interest. This demonstrates Namibia’s potential to harness the digital nomad trend and create new opportunities for local businesses in the tourism and information and communication technologies support sectors. As an effective marketing tool for Namibia, the DNV program has also created visibility through digital nomads documenting and sharing their experiences on social media and other mass media platforms, showcasing the nation’s natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and hospitality. This increased visibility has the potential to help attract more tourists, investors, and talent, further stimulating the nation’s economic growth and development.”

It is said that, by design, the Digital Nomad Visa complements, rather than competes with, the local workforce, ensuring digital nomads bring their own remote jobs or freelance projects to Namibia. This approach benefits the Namibian economy and its people while creating an environment for local entrepreneurs and professionals to expand their networks, learn from their international counterparts, and explore new avenues for collaboration.

Dolapo Aina reached out to Ms. Catherine Shipushu (senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, in the Office of The Presidency) for more clarifications and insights.

On the abovementioned statement that the digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, I asked if this is the only criteria being looked at? What about those nomads who can attract global attention and global traffic into Namibia? How do you factor that into the policy? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The Namibia Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) serves a dual purpose in enhancing the country’s economy. Firstly, it allows digital nomads to inject foreign currency into the ecosystem, contributing to economic activities and growth. Additionally, the DNV harnesses the power of digital nomads as ambassadors for Namibia. Through their documentation and sharing of experiences on social media and other platforms, they become valuable marketing assets, attracting global attention and generating publicity for the country. As part of our marketing campaign, we have engaged digital nomads, who are currently in Namibia, to share their unique perspectives and experiences, aiming to inspire and attract more digital nomads to choose Namibia as their preferred “work” destination. By leveraging their presence and influence, we strive to create a ripple effect of positive exposure and interest in Namibia, ultimately benefiting the local economy and fostering collaboration between local and international professionals.”

On the two thousand dollars per month projection, I asked if this was targeted at only Western nomads only or global nomads including African nomads who might not have the same financial muscle as their Western counterparts? And would this amount be reduced anytime soon? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The requirement of USD 2,000 per month for the Namibia Digital Nomad Visa is not targeted exclusively at Western nomads. The income requirement serves as a benchmark to ensure that digital nomads, regardless of their nationality, have the financial means to sustain themselves comfortably in Namibia. The aim is to provide a positive experience for digital nomads and contribute to the local economy. The income requirement is based on the cost of living in Namibia and takes into account expenses such as accommodation, transportation, food and other essentials. The Namibian government understands the diverse backgrounds of digital nomads and aims to create an inclusive environment that welcomes global nomads, including those from Africa and other parts of the world, while maintaining a reasonable financial stability requirement. As with any programme, there is a possibility of periodic evaluation and adjustments based on feedback and the evolving circumstances.”

The launch of Namibia’s Digital Nomad Visa programme is a bold and strategic move that positions the country as a prime destination for remote workers from around the world. By embracing this global trend and offering a world-class visa program, Namibia stands to reap substantial economic, social, and cultural benefits.

Continue Reading

Adding Value

Adding Value: Understanding Oneself: Foundation to Success by Henry Ukazu




Dear Destiny Friends,

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom” – Socrates

Please permit me to begin this article by asking a simple question. Who are you? By this, I mean what you stand for or represent and not what the world thinks of you. It is instructive to note that what the world thinks of you is your reputation, but your character is who you really are.

If an employer wants to know more about a prospective employee, they can ask an open-ended question such as how would you describe yourself in one sentence? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Have you ever experienced a challenge or problem at work? If yes, how did you handle it? All these questions are structured to inquire more about the personality of the employee.

One of the best things anyone can do in life is not only to understand who they are, but also understand what they represent. It will be hard to know what you represent if you don’t understand who you are. If you don’t understand yourself, it will be difficult to understand other people.

According to Forbes, only 15% of the world are self-aware. One begins to wonder, what about the remaining 85%. As a transformational Human Capacity Coach, my company is focused on helping people unleash their potential. To do this, we use our self-discovery and mindset training manual to know more about them by giving them a set of self awareness questions which they are required to answer to the best of their knowledge. It is rather unfortunate that a lot of people don’t know themselves. They just exist as opposed to living.

Self-discovery is truly lacking in our society. When you truly know yourself, you will know your strengths and weaknesses. When you know yourself, you will know your boundaries as regards what to accept from people and where to draw the lines; you will know your personality traits; you will have a clearer understanding of your career path in your professional life; you will know how to interact with people; you will know your core values; you will have a clearer version of your life purpose; and you will be self-motivated. The list is literally endless.

In the journey of life, we engage in a lot of activities we are not supposed to be engaged in. For example, we study courses we are not wired or love to study, and this makes understanding difficult. Some of us apply for jobs we are not passionate about just to pay bills. Some of us even marry partners we don’t really like due to circumstances. Again, the list is endless. All these can lead to frustration and depression if not properly managed. If only we can take a deep breath and ask ourselves some deep thought-provoking questions on what we really want in life, and the reason we are doing what we are doing, the result will be different.

There are many ways to understand oneself. You can understand yourself by staying silent, reflecting about, and observing your life. These acts will help you to practice self-awareness which will ultimately help you to look inward and enable you to understand your feelings, emotions, and your personality. Self knowledge will enable you to know your values, interests, temperament, life mission, and activities to engage in.

As human beings, one thing we should constantly engage in is learning new things about ourselves on a daily basis. Knowing oneself takes time. However, due to desperation, most people don’t practice the art of stillness. When you take time to understand what’s involved in a particular work, it will be easy to solve it in a more efficient and effective manner. There is a story told of a philosopher, who fell into a ditch in front of him because he was too busy to see what was ahead of him.

Again, let’s take the case of Japan with about one hundred and twenty-five million people, which is one of the most industrialized countries on the planet, yet it maintains a level of calm despite the busy nature of the country.

The benefits of knowing oneself is priceless. It will make you confident which will ultimately eliminate self-doubt. It will help you build better and healthy health relationships by attracting the people you need and eliminating people you don’t need. You will be less stressed because you will focus on what’s important as opposed to irrelevant things which will keep your temperament and mindset in good shape.

Self discovery will help you to know your self-worth because no one will price you cheap when you know your value, and you will feel happier.

Furthermore, self knowledge will help you in decision making. When you know yourself, you will be able to make better choices about everything, from minor decisions to major decisions. Your temperament and personality type will be better managed as a leader or rational being.

Self control: When you know yourself, you will better manage yourself. If you can’t manage yourself, it will be hard to manage other people. When you know yourself, you understand what motivates you to resist bad habits and develop good ones. Knowing your strengths is one of the foundations of self confidence.

Resistance to social pressure. Self knowledge helps you to focus on what’s beneficial to you as opposed to other people. According to Bill Cosby, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone. When you are grounded in your values and preferences, you are less likely to say “yes” when you want to say “no.”

In conclusion, take time and reflect on this question, who am I? This is one of the most important questions you will answer in your entire life. When you answer this question, you have solved 50% of your life challenges. If you can’t answer this question, and need assistance, you can use the email below to reach out for assistance.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer Design Your Destiny and Unleash Your Destiny.  He can be reached via

Continue Reading


%d bloggers like this: