Former Chief Justice of Nigeria (The First Woman Chief Justice)
Currently Member of the National Council of State, Nigeria
Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, GCON
When I was nominated for appointment as a Judge, I had just turned thirty-two years of age, but the Judicial Service Commission rejected the nomination because of my age. Barely six months thereafter another nominee was rejected, then my matter resurrected when, it was not even on the agenda, and I was appointed. At this miraculous turn of event I became resolute that my career as a Jurist will be based on “undiluted” Justice, so to speak. Twice it was my turn to head the Kano State Judiciary as the Chief Judge, but I was not given the privilege, as my juniors were appointed over me instead. I remained resilient, and continued to dispense justice diligently and without fear or favour. Unknown to me, Allah in his infinite mercy had far better plans for me to be the Chief Justice of the whole Country.
I was elevated to the Court of Appeal where I spent almost eighteen years adhering to the principles of Justice, and not relenting in my efforts to ensure that all litigants are availed the justice they deserved. In 1998, I was nominated for Nigeria’s merit award of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) but I was denied. Later I was conferred with the award and another higher award. At the end of the day I was conferred with the Second highest award in the Country in 2012. I have no doubt that my past experiences and tribulations have helped to strengthen my resolve to be what people say I am today, although some say it is innate in me.
Whatever situation a woman pursuing any career finds herself she should remain focused and not allow any distraction to hinder her progress. It is important that she abides by her oath of office in the process of dispensing justice if she is a Judge. She should be influenced by what I call my three ‘Fs’, namely ‘Fear’, ‘Faith’, and ‘Fairness’. Whatever you do you should fear God not only by words of mouth or worship, but by adhering to his dictates. If you have faith in him you will practice the above and he will surely guide you through the path of Justice. Finally, be fair and just to litigants who seek redress in your Court, and to your clients if you are a legal practitioner. Fairness should be your watchword as it is synonymous with impartiality. Most importantly you should work hard to justify your earnings.