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The Hon. Justice Niki Tobi’s 1st Biennial Symposium: A concept note



Late Hon. Justice Niki Tobi
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By ATSocio-Judicial Consulting, LLC

Who ‘is’ Niki Tobi (as he often simply introduced himself)?

He ‘is’ the living law. A simple man whose books, articles, lectures, seminar presentations, speeches, judicial pronouncements, jokes, reprimands, and integrity lives in us, and with us every day in our hearts, homes, offices, chambers, courts, and society.

He ‘is’ a tree with many branches that spreads from the bar to the bench, from facets of government to the public domain.

He was an all-around achiever– a practicing Christian who loved Jesus Christ. He was a loving and respectful husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, a reliable friend, a trusted elder statesman with a fondness for tradition–especially with his regalia (he wore the Ijaw traditional regalia at almost every occasion), yet he detested tradition when it dared discriminate against women in his landmark judgment Mojekwu v. Mojekwu.

He was a humble mentee and mentor, a patriotic national leader who led/executed major national strategic assignments that bothered on Nigeria’s democracy and security: the drafting of the 1999 Constitution, the constitutional conference (popularly known as CONFAB), and the Plateau/Jos crisis.

Niki Tobi was a professor of law turned jurist. He started his legal career as a state counsel, then moved into academia as a professor of public and private law (with expertise in jurisprudence and Constitutional law).

He was a dean of law, a deputy vice-chancellor, an acting vice-chancellor.

From academia, he moved to the bench, and rose from the High Court to the Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

He retired as the second most senior judge in Nigeria, as next to the Chief Justice. He left to glory on June 16, 2016, and was buried on December 3rd, 2016. We immortalize him today with gratitude for the gift he left with us – His brain (expressed in books and law reports). His intellectual and erudite reasoning contributes immensely to advancing judicial jurisprudence in Africa.

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Why should we immortalize Niki Tobi?
1. To enlighten the society of the roles, efforts, and dilemmas of Nigerian judges like him.

2. The judiciary he and many devoted judges served deserves the honor for the thankless public service to society.

3. Nigeria deserves to remember and celebrate his contributions to democracy, law, justice, social, economic, political, educational, cultural, sociopolitical, socioeconomic advancements in our society, as a reminder of the indispensable role judges play in our society.

4. The Nigerian legal profession should have the opportunity to pride their judges’ unique contributions to legal/judicial jurisprudence on a global level.

5. Niki Tobi represents “our heroes past…” whose labors “ …shall never be in vain…”So his legacy and that of other judges deserves to thrive.

How we want to immortalize Niki Tobi

1. To organize regular memorial symposium series on judicial development and publish presentations from such symposiums as reference materials.

2. To organize dinners and other events to celebrate his core values- courage, humility, fairness, integrity, transparency, diligence and hard-work.

3. To publish second editions of his major books.

4. Stage three days long (back-to-back) jingle on social media/media, three days to the event(from Monday, November 29, 2021, to Thursday, December 2nd, 2021).

5. At least one law firm from every state to send a tribute to the email before November 30, 2021.

6. To continue celebrating the Nigerian judge and their judicial pronouncements and jurisprudence.

The theme of this 1st symposium
The Nigerian Judge and Society: Hon. Justice Niki Tobi’s Impact on the Development of Law and Society.

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The Purpose of this 1st symposium

1. To immortalize the late jurist and recollect his contributions to law and society.

2. To celebrate the Nigerian judiciary and the Nigerian judicial culture through landmark judgments of the late jurist.

3. To advertise Nigeria’s judicial jurisprudence through publications of Nigerian judges and magistrates.

4. To appraise the development of law in Nigeria and advance judicial jurisprudence through a review of the late jurist’s judgments, and literature.

6. To inspire/instigate further research in legal/judicial development in Nigeria.

7. To enlighten local and international communities about the Nigerian judiciary.

8. To facilitate and foster intellectual, legal and judicial relationships and mentor/mentee relationships locally and internationally (between Nigerian and foreign judges/academics).

9. To discuss contemporary issues in the Nigerian judiciary,and propose a way forward.

10. To kick-start a regular rendezvous where Niki Tobi’s biological and legal families bask in the euphoria of our unforgettable and irreplaceable legal icon.

The target audience
1. Judges
2. Lawyers
3. Academics
4. Law students
5. Domestic and international society
Speakers and topics
Speakers/Discussants/Moderators Topics

FIRST PANEL The Nigerian Supreme Court as a Policy Court

Hon.Justice Amina Adamu Augie, JSC
Hon. Justice Adewale Habeeb Abiru, JCA

Professor Festus Other Marice Emiri, SAN – The Nigerian Supreme Court as a Policy Court: Niki
Tobi’s Input

Courts as Agents of Social Change
How courts apply language and Philosophy in the
Judicial Process to make policy

First Panel moderating-speaker:
Hon. Justice James Ogebe, Rtd, JSC Adjunct topic
The life of a Serving and Retired Nigerian Judge

SECOND PANEL Judicial Precedent in Nigeria:
Hon Justice Benedict Bakwaph Kanyip, President of NICN
Hon. Justice Olajumoke Olusola Pedro, High Court of Lagos State/Chairman of the governing council of Lagos Multidoor Courthouse
Chief Joe Kyari Gadzama. SAN. Founding Principal
Partner J-K Gadzama LLP The Strains of Judicial Precedent in the Nigerian
Legal System and the Impact of Frivolous Appeals on Judicial Precedent in Nigeria
Alternative Dispute Resolution as an alternative to (Frivolous) Appeal and congesting superior courts.
How Judicial Precedent in Nigeria, and the Conflicting Judgments of Courts of Coordinate Jurisdiction, Impacts the Nigerian bar and by extension the society.

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Second Panel moderating-speaker:
Professor Chioma Kanu Agomo,
(Emeritus) University of Lagos, Department of Commercial and Industrial Law Adjunct topic:
Precedent and the Development of Law and Policy.

THIRD PANEL: Legal Education and the Nigerian Judicial System
Professor Isa Hayatu Chiroma, Director General, Nigerian Law School
Barrister Oluwemimo Ogunde, SAN Principal Counsel, Wemimo Ogunde & Co., Nigeria
Dr. Shawn C Marsh, Director Judicial Studies Program, University of Nevada, Reno, U.S.A Niki Tobi’s Impact on Legal Education and the Nigerian Legal System

My brother’s/sister’s keeper: Mentoring in the Legal Profession
The benefits of Judicial studies to the Nigerian Judiciary

Third Panel moderating-speaker:
Professor Bankole Adekunle Akintoye Sodipo, Babcock University, Nigeria Adjunct topic

The Role of Lecturers in Early Judicial Education

FOURTH PANEL: The Nigerian Judiciary and Democracy
Professor Emmanuel Ndubuisi Okechukwu Emenyonu, Southern Connecticut State University,

The Nigerian Judiciary in her Twenty Years Democracy
Chief Magistrate Kikelomo Bukola Odeyemi Ayeye, FICMC, Lagos Sate Judiciary

The Place of the Nigerian Magistrate in Nigeria’s democracy – A Judicial Agenda
Retired Magistrate Ari Tobi Aiyemo, PhD
Researcher/Judicial consulting-analyst

The Role of the Nigerian Judge in Society: A judicial Dilemma

Fourth Panel moderating-speaker:
Professor Chidi Anslem Odinkalu

Adjunct topic
The Role of Courts in Upholding Democracy and Human Rights in Nigeria

All presentations including the moderating speakers’ full submitted papers will be published in the memoir.


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