Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 June 2005
Although the prevailing tendency is to view the executive and, to a lesser extent, the legislature as the primary drivers of the developmental process in any country, this paper situates the judiciary in the Nigerian developmental process. Seldom is the judiciary recognized as an equal partner in the developmental process: when the system works, which suggests that their job is being done well, the judiciary is rarely the destination of praise, but as their failure (real or imagined) is often incandescent, blame is easily lavished on them. This article brings attention to what it terms “judicial government” but contextualizes the judiciary's performance against the backdrop of the constraints to which it is subject and it crucially identifies self-inflicted constraints. These self-inflicted constraints impact on the size of the Supreme Court's docket (which affects the quality of dispensed justice) and the issue of costs in the litigation process.