A functioning judicial system has been described as indispensable tool for national development, its stability and the society as a whole.
The Chief Judge of Ogun State, Honourable Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu disclosed this in His Lordship Opening Remarks at the Annual Judges’ Conference of Ogun State Judiciary held at the State Judiciary Complex, Abeokuta the State Capital.
At the 2022 Conference themed “COURT DECISIONS AS CATALST FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT – FOCUS ON THE ELECTORAL PROCESS”, His Lordship said as the nation is moving to the election periods, the judiciary’s integrity is largely questioned and scrutinised by the public with regards to the quality of Judgments which flow from Courts.
The Chief Judge noted that a functioning judicial system is indispensable to national development and to society as a whole maintaining that judicial efficiency is often measured by trial length, which is one of the essential factors in the effectiveness of the justice system.
Justice Dipeolu said judicial efficiency ensures contract enforcement, which is the basis of market transactions and ultimately national development.
His Lordship further stated that judicial efficiency is closely associated with accessibility to judicial service and certainty of profound and enforceable judgments.
Emphasising on the words of Marilene Lorizioa and Antonia Rosa Gurrieria of the Department of Law, University of Foggia in their Publication titled “Efficiency of Justice and Economic Systems” His Lordship stated that one of the factors that discourage investment, particularly foreign investment, in developing countries is the absence of an effective and reliable dispute resolution mechanism and lack of confidence in the integrity of the courts which the Chief Judge considered as great hindrance to national development.
His lordship also noted that Elections by their very nature are contentious and it is reasonable to assume that a dedicated and impartial mechanism put in place to adjudicate election-related grievances and suspected violations could reduce tendencies to engage in electoral violence
The Chief Judge further stated that the integrity and the quality of the Judgment of the Court check arbitrariness, excessive power use, repose confidence in the courts and show that the judiciary serve as a check and balance to other arms of government, being the third arm of the Government.
“The constitutional function of court as arbiters of disputes makes it one of the first Institutions from which political actors might seek intervention during the electoral period hence the need to be better equipped” His Lordship added.
The Guest speaker at the Conference, Professor Taiwo Osipitan submitted that National Development remains a principal objective of the most constitutional democracies, maintaining that democracy and national development are therefore perfect bedmates.
He said in ensuring national developments through constitutional democracy, crucial role of interpretation and application of the Constitution and relevant statues has been assigned to the Judiciary.
According to him, the Judiciary, through various courts decisions has given a good account of itself in the timely and just resolution of disputes, especially in election related matters.
“Well reasoned court decisions are valid insurance policies for vote of confidence in the courts by the end users. Such decisions hinder anarchy, lawlessness and self help. The decisions will usher peace, progress and orderly development of the Nation. Your lordships have good reasons to therefore continue to dispense justice without fear or favour no matter the political weight of the litigating parties” Osipitan stated.
In his view, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Sola Ojutalayo who was one of the discussants at the Conference disclosed that a commendable and credible electoral process cannot be achieved without the guiding hand of a bold, forthright and incorruptible judiciary with stretched out hand to whip errant politicians and electoral officers back into line whenever they stray from the path of propriety, noting that a sound judicial system acts as stimulus for beneficial economic growth.