One of the fundamental principles underlying the Nigerian constitutional process is that of the independence of the judiciary. The concept, in its basic form, embodies the entire philosophy of constitutional democracy especially as emphasised by the preamble to the Constitution which is for “promoting the good government and welfare of all persons … on the principles of Equality, Freedom and Justice”. In a country such as Nigeria which is presently characterised by political and economic underdevelopment, it is generally considered constitutionally desirable that a viable contrivance such as the institutional separation of the judiciary from the other arms of the government is a necessary bulwark against all forms of political and social tyranny, administrative victimisation and oppression. In other words, the freedom of the judicature from any influence, whether exerted by the legislature or the executive, or even from the judiciary itself, which is capable of leading to any form of injustice, abuse, miscarriage of justice, judicial insensitivity or other court-related vices is a condition sine qua non for the establishment of a durable political order based on the rule of law and constitutionalism.
The notion of the independence of the judiciary has its philosophical ancestry in the time-honoured theory of the separation of powers, a doctrine which incidentally features prominently in the allocation of state powers under the Nigerian constitutional scheme.