By Adelanwa Bamgboye
Justice Kudirat Motonmori Olatokunbo Kekere-Ekun is today the youngest female jurist at the Supreme Court.
On May 7, she turned 58 and by age 66. She might be the second female Chief Justice of Nigeria to emerge after the record set by Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar who became first female CJN at 68.
Kekere-Ekun is one of the most upright jurists. She wrote the leading judgment in the Rivers State governorship election petition that was fought up to the apex court. Ordinarily, people think that the judgment should have reflected her background because her husband is one of the APC chieftains.
However, those that know her well know dubbed her another ‘Margret Thatcher’. She missed becoming the President of the Court of Appeal ( PCA ) by Aloma Mukhtar after Justice Ayo Salami bowed out as PCA.
The current CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, is expected to retire on November 10, 2016 when he would have attained the 70-year mandatory retirement age for justices in the appellate courts.
If the long tradition of seniority is maintained and barring all odds, Justice Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen is likely to take over later this year as the next CJN to spend four years, followed by the erudite Justice Ibrahim Tanko who will spend three years as CJN, and then another eminent jurist, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola JSC who will spend one year as the CJN.
The Supreme Court consists of the CJN and such number of Justices of the Supreme Court, not exceeding 21, as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly. Presently, the Supreme Court is made up of the CJN and 14 other justices.
Kekere-Ekun was born on May 7, 1958. She obtained her LL.B in 1980 from the University of Lagos and a Master’s Degree in Law from the London School of Economic and Political Science in November 1983.She was called to the Nigerian Bar on July 10, 1981.
Her lordship rose from the post of Senior Magistrate Grade II with the Lagos State Judiciary to this present position as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. As a High Court judge, she served as Chairman Robbery and Firearms Tribunal, Zone II, Ikeja from November 1996 to May 1999 where she delivered so many landmark judgments.
She also served as a member of the Court of Appeal ICT Committee June 2011-July 2013.She has attended numerous courses and seminars within and outside Nigeria, such as Induction Course for Judicial Officers organised by the National Judicial Institute, Abuja in May 1997; Case Management and Court Administration Training workshop organised by the National Centre for State Courts in June 2001; ICT Training Course (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) in Dubai, UAE in July 2012.
From her wealth of knowledge on diverse areas of law and national issues, she has delivered various papers, among which are “Delay in Election Tribunal Proceedings: Solutions” delivered at the All Nigeria Judges Conference, Abuja on 16- 20 November, 2009 and “Law: A Tool for Social Change” delivered at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ibadan Branch Law Week on November 30, 2010.
Her lordship is a member of notable clubs and professional associations, and has received several merit awards. She enjoys playing the piano, reading and swimming. She is married and has children.