A former governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, has rated the Nigerian judiciary as the best in Africa.
Kalu made this observation on Tuesday while delivering a lecture titled “Role of Bar and Bench in fight against corruption” at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Aba branch, Abia State, Annual Week 2017.
According to the business mogul, despite the conditions under which it operated, the Nigerian judiciary had performed wonderfully well by not only helping to sustain the nation’s democracy, but by saving democracy at many critical times.
“While I do not deny the fact of corruption in the judiciary, I also affirm that our judiciary is one of the best on the continent.
“I want to state that Nigerian judiciary is not as bad as being portrayed sometimes. Considering the conditions of their operations, they have been performing wonderfully well. The judiciary has not only helped to sustain our democracy, but has saved democracy at many critical times,” he said.
“Our judiciary is trying very well, and I believe if it is allowed to operate with zero interference, that will be the beginning of the turn around of our democratic process.
“As a governor, I came in contact with one hallmark of our judiciary – courage. I had squared up with former President (Olusegun) Obasanjo over what right should come to Abia State. We went to court and I had feared that the judges would fear federal might and sway justice. But, they stood their ground to uphold the law as it should be”, he said.
Quoting President Muhammadu Buhari, the former Abia State governor spoke on the need for the judiciary to take steps to ensure it was not seen as being partisan, but exhibiting high sense of integrity.
“You may not be able to succeed in ridding the judiciary of influence and intimidation of strong political players like governors, but when the Chief Judge of a state sees his appointment and funding as favour from the governor, justice remains what the governor wants”, he added.