Judicial appointments controversy: the hegemonic nominee list

Ogunsakin Mustapha
4 Min Read

A former Chairman of National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) and human rights crusader, Prof Chidi Odunkalu has accused the immediate President, Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa of trying to install her unqualified daughter to become a judge of the Federal High Court.A group to which you belong last week asked

Prof Odinkalu is part of a group of lawyers, Open Bar Initiative(OBI) that petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to reject the 33 names presented to him as nominees to be appointed as Federal High Court judges.

In an exclusive interview with Gavel International, Prof Odinkalu said he stands by every word in the petition the group sent to President Buhari.

“I stand by every comma and full stop in our letter to the President. The narrative of capture of the Nigerian state and its capabilities and institutions by narrow personal and family interests is nearly total. Look, judicial office is not an inheritance transmitted by Mummy or Daddy to child. It is also not sexually transmitted like pregnancy from husband to wife”, he said.

Odinkalu added: “So, Justice Bulkachuwa retires as Court of Appeal President for instance and wants to plant on the Bench her 30-something year-old daughter who could not hold down a job in the presidency nor bother to show up for it. Go and ask and find out. And you think we should all keep quiet?

Former President, Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa. Alleged to have influenced the appointment of her daughter, Fatima Abubakar Aliyu

“That is judicial insider-dealing. If it happened on a properly regulated course, people like that will go to jail. Here, we call them “My Lord”. It stinks! It may not be popular but we have a duty to fight it. We gave the names of the people who are Mummy And Daddy or husband and wife nominees on the list, no? Has anyone come out to say they are not? Of course not;

I have nothing against these children whose only claim to qualification is whose child they are. But can they just compete on equal footing with others? You don’t rig the process and then say you have done a selection. When you do that, you exclude fit candidates from the field. That is unlawful actually;

You can also see in the past week the Presidential Committee against Corruption (PACAC) has backed us in this. And we now have an action instituted by a lawyer from Akwa Ibom claiming that no candidate from Akwa Ibom was considered in the process of recruitment which is contrary to the requirement of Federal Character in the FCT High Court Act;

Our facts are very credibly attested. We know where the other people you refer to come from but this is not the place to tell them because they know themselves”, he concluded.

Find below the list:




Watch out for the full interview with Prof Odinkalu on Tuesday. It is explosive!


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