The Ogun State Government has appointed Honourable Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu as the acting chief judge of the state, following the retirement of Justice Olatokunbo Olopade on Tuesday
The Secretary to the state government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, who announced the appointment in a statement on Monday said the appointment is effective from Tuesday.
The acting chief judge holds a Bachelor of Law Degree (LL.B) from the University of Buckingham, England, attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and was called to the Nigerian Bar in July 1981.
She started her career as a Pupil State Counsel at the Lagos State Ministry of Justice in August, 1981. In January 1985, she was appointed to the Bench as a Magistrate in the Lagos State Judiciary and rose to the position of a Senior Magistrate in 1991.
Justice Dipeolu left the Lagos State Judiciary in December 1991 and was engaged in private practice until November 1995 when she was appointed as a Chief Magistrate 1 in the Ogun State Judiciary where she rose through the ranks to become a High Court judge in May 1999. The acting Chief Judge has attended several national and international seminars and workshops.
Earlier in the day, the state government thanked the outgoing Chief Judge, Mrs Olopade, for her contributions to the development of the judiciary in particular and the state in general.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun and members of his cabinet dedicated the State Executive Council meeting as a valedictory session in honour of the Chief Judge.
Mr Amosun said Mrs Olopade brought a lot of innovation and professionalism into the state judicial system, adding that, her efforts contributed to the overwhelming position the state has attained in the area of justice delivery among the comity of states.
Also speaking, the Deputy Governor, Yetunde Onanuga, and the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Adeoluwa, noted that she proved her mettle as the first female Chief Judge and discharged her duty with all sense of dedication and professionalism.
In their separate remarks, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Tolu Odebiyi, and the Head of Service, Abayomi Sobande, described her as a team player who cared and was committed to the dispensation of justice for equity and justice for the development of humanity.
The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Olumide Ayeni, and his Agriculture counterpart, Adepeju Adebajo, also lauded Mrs Olopade’s exemplary leadership which has led to improved justice delivery in the state.
Responding, Mrs Olopade appreciated members of the Executive Council for the honour done to her, commending the administration for not interfering in the judicial system, noting that this allowed members of the judiciary to deliver their duties effectively.
Meanwhile, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wole Olanipekun, has described federal character laws enshrined in the constitution and statutes as a principle that militates against meritocracy while breeding mediocrity in government organisations.
Mr Olanipekun made the submission at a valedictory public lecture with the theme, ‘’An Anatomical of Analysis of the Principle of Federal Character; A Case for the Enthronement of Institutionalism and Meritocracy’’ and book presentation, in honour of Mrs Olopade, at the Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta.
He defined “federal character “as a concept which denotes a principle of fairness and equity in the distribution of public posts and socio-economic infrastructures among the federating units, emphasizing that to sustain and nurture the judiciary and enthrone meritocracy, government at all levels should refrain from retiring High Court Judges at the age of 65 and Justices of the Court of Appeal/ Supreme Court at 70 within same country, as it takes years to build cerebral justice system.
He described the retiring CJ who led the state judiciary for seven years, as a brilliant, matured and disciplined administrator who added value to the administration of justice in Ogun State and Nigeria.