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The Oracle: Critiquing Judges and Judgments: The Dividing Line (Pt. 2)



By Mike Ozekhome


In the first part, we explored the background and set the tone for this all important topic. In this part, we shall further develop it under six broad sub-themes, viz: Self-criticism by the Supreme Court within its own judgment in Hope Uzodinma vs Emeka Ihedioha; Legal and Contextual frame works; How judges are gagged by the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers; Laws prohibiting attacks on Judges and Appraising the above laws and Code of Conduct.


However, in his dissenting opinion, Justice Centus Nweze, JSC also had been added to the seven-member panel to replace retired Amiru Sanusi, JSC; the CJN, Tanko Mohammed; Olukayode Ariwoola (now CJN); late Sylvester Ngwuta; Kudirat Kekere-Ekun; Amina Augie; and Uwani Abba-Aji, JJSC; refused to set aside the earlier judgment of the Supreme Court which had upheld the declaration of Uzodinma as Governor of Imo State. He criticised his own apex Court by declaring, in poetic words, “the decision of the Supreme Court in the instant matter will continue to haunt our electoral jurisprudence for a long time to come”.

Justice Nweze added that without evidence of meeting other constitutional provisions, the court misled itself into declaring Mr. Uzodinma as Governor.

The Jurist argued that Mr. Uzodinma and his party misled the court to accept the alleged excluded result in 388 polling units without indicating the votes polled by other political parties.

He also faulted the results from the said polling units without indicating the number of accredited voters in the polling units. Mr. Nweze recalled how Mr Uzodinma, during the election tribunal, admitted that he hijacked the result sheets from the electoral umpire officials and completed the results sheets by himself. He said such results could not be valid without indicating the number of accredited voters.

“This court has a duty of redeeming its image, it is against its background that the finality of the court cannot extinguish the right of any person.”

“I am of the view that this application should succeed. I hereby make an order reapproving the decision of the court made by January 14th and that the certificate of return issued on the appellant returned to INEC.”

“I also make an order restoring the respondent as the winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election.” Mr Nweze in his minority ruling which was, however, overruled by the majority decision.

Mr. George Alger (criticising the Courts), therefore opines that “in view of this machinery through which the courts are subjected to the animadversion of professional critics, it would be a hardy and very foolish man who would assert that criticism of the court should not be indulged in by laymen. But while the general right to criticize is not disputed, there has been evident in recent years, and generally in political campaigns, a somewhat vague attempt to draw an imaginary or real line between the types of criticism which are permissible and those which are not and which constitute what are called ‘Attacks upon the Courts’”.

It is, with respect, these “attacks” precisely that we shall presently undertake, regardless of how they are perceived – gratuitous or not – especially within our local context or milieu.



Judges are traditionally sworn to silence – except in court while performing their functions. By convention, they are to be seen; not heard. Indeed, this stricture has been embedded in a Code of Conduct, (although this is not widely known to many) The Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2016, provides in Rules 5 and 6 respectively, as follows:

RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: A Judge, like any other citizen, is entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly; but in exercising such rights, a Judge shall always conduct himself in such manner as to preserve the dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality and independence of the Judiciary. Accordingly, a Judge shall act with such restraint as is necessary to:

  1. Maintain public confidence in the impartiality and independence of the Judiciary;

2. Avoid involvement in public discussion or discourse if his or her involvement could reasonably undermine confidence in his or her impartiality;

3. Avoid such occasions and circumstances where such involvement may unnecessarily expose the Judge to political attacks or be inconsistent with the dignity of a judicial officer; and/orAdhere strictly to political silence

DUTY TO ABSTAIN FROM INVOLVEMENT IN PUBLIC CONTROVERSIES: The duties of judges are not consistent with any involvement in public controversies;

  1. A Judge should not involve himself or herself inappropriately in public controversies;
  2. A Judge shall not enter into the political arena or participate in public debates- either by expressing opinion on controversial subjects, entering into disputes with public figures in the community or publicly criticizing the government.
  3. The convention of political silence requires the Judge concerned not to ordinarily reply to public statements. Although the right to criticize a Judge is subject to the rules relating to contempt, these are not to be invoked today, to suppress or punish criticism of the judiciary or of a particular judge. The better and wiser course is to ignore any scandalous attack or criticism outside the court room, rather than to exacerbate the publicity by initiating proceedings.
  4. Contempt ex facie curiae is an attack on the integrity and authority of the court of law and the administration of Justice. Though Rule 6(c) requires the power to punish for contempt to be exercised with great caution, the power to punish for contempt committed ex facie curiae must be used to protect the court from open attack aimed at discrediting the administration of Justice.
  5. A Judge may speak out on matter that affects the judiciary which directly affects the operation of the courts, the independence of the judiciary, fundamental aspects of the administration of Justice. On these matters, a Judge should act with great restraint. While a Judge may through his Head of Court properly make public representations to the government on these matters, he/she must not be seen as “lobbying” government or as indicating how he or she would rule if particular situations were to come before the court.
  6. A Judge may participate in discussion of the law for educational purposes or to point out weakness in the law. Judicial commentary should be limited to practical implications or drafting deficiencies and should be made as part of a collective institutionalized effort by the Judiciary, not of an individual Judge” (emphasis mine).Judges, by these limitation of right to reply to public criticisms are literally stripped bare and left helpless to their fate.

However, notwithstanding this apparent gagging, Judges are armed with the weapon of committal for contempt when necessary.


Section 133 of the Criminal Code (applicable in the 17 southern states and the Federal High Court of Nigeria) provides that “any person, who while a judicial proceeding is pending, makes use of any speech or writing misrepresenting such proceeding or capable of prejudicing any person in favour of or against any party to such proceeding or calculated to lower the authority of any person before whom such proceeding is being heard or taken or commits any other act of intentional disrespect to any judicial proceeding or to any person before whom such proceeding is being heard or taken; or commits any other act of intentional disrespect to any judicial proceeding or to any person before whom such proceeding is being heard or taken , is guilty or a simple offence and liable to imprisonment for three months”. A similar provision is contained in the Penal Code applicable in the 19 Northern states as well as Abuja the FCT. Additionally, Rule 33 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2007, provides that “a lawyer or law firm engaged in or associated with the prosecution or defence of a criminal matter, or associated with a civil action shall not, while litigation is anticipated or pending in the matter, make or participate in making any extra-judicial statement that is calculated to prejudice or interfere with, or is reasonably capable to prejudicing or interfering with the fair trial of the matter, of the judgment or sentence thereon”


A calm reading of the above laws shows that neither section 133 of the Criminal Code, nor Rule 33 of the Legal Practitioners Rules of Professional Conduct apply to critiquing of court judgments by lawyers, whether or not they were actually involved in the cases under question. Non-lawyers are also not prevented by these laws from doing so upon the conclusion of those court proceedings after judgement has been delivered. The statutes above also do not prohibit critiquing judgments through academic research, intellectual discourse or the media by lawyers and other members of the public after such have been fully delivered. However, this must be within decent intellectual bounds of objectivity and analysis, towards a better justice-delivery system. Section 133 of the Criminal Code and Rule 33 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners merely prohibit lawyers or law firms from participating in certain acts “while a judicial proceeding is pending”; or showing “intentional disrespect to any judicial proceedings or to any person before whom such proceedings is being heard or taken”; or “while litigation is anticipated or pending in the matter”. Such prohibited acts include making “use of any speech or writing misrepresenting such proceeding or capable of prejudicing any person in favour of against any party in such proceedings”; or is “calculated to lower the authority of any person (Judex) before which such proceedings is being heard or taken”; or “commits any other act of intentional disrespect” to the above; or “making any extra-judicial statement that is calculated to prejudice of interfere with, or is reasonably capable of prejudicing or interfering with the fair trial of the matter, of the judgment or sentence therein”. The above provisions are clear to the extent that one may only critique judgements through extra Judicial statements after delivery thereof. But such critiquing must be done in a fair and scholarly manner. It must not be calculated to lower the authority, integrity and dignity of the Judex, let alone the trial court or Judge himself. Such is punishable. I personally abhor it. (To be continued).


“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).

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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.

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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.

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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

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