Chief Judge (CJ) of Abia State Justice Onuoha Ogwe has said that his predecessor in office, Mr. Justice Obisike Oji who was suddenly retired in January 2018, after serving for about a month in office, had no personal ambition to occupy the office of the state Chief Judge.
The CJ disclosed this in his address during the Abia State Judiciary 2020/2021 Legal Year and Valedictory Court Session in honour of six retired Judges of the state, including the said Justice Oji.
He stated that such a notion was erroneously sold and believed to be so by the powers in Abuja and that Abuja’s authority was influenced in its decision to retire him due to events in other states and not Abia.
“His Lordship thus suffered for the sins of other states. His ascension was a timely check to what would have been a regrettable deterioration of the Judiciary.
“He was a focused gentleman who within the short period had already set some enduring things in place. By his unfortunate and premature departure, we lost his energy, resourcefulness, and erudition,” the CJ said, adding that while history would be kind to him, he bequeathed two daughters to the legal profession.
Other retired judges honoured during the ceremony were two Chief Judges, Kalu Amah and Theresa Uzokwe, two that occupied the CJ position in an acting capacity, S.O.E Nwanosike and Stella Nwakanma and Emole Onuoha who retired as Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal.
The CJ in his other remarks during the legal year themed: “Judiciary Staff as Major stakeholders in Justice delivery”, said it was apt, especially when viewed from the backdrop of the lack-luster attitude and general apathy among staff and officers in the public and civil services due to lack of incentives to boost morale and inspire productivity in all sectors of the economy.
He, therefore, tasked registry staff and all others charged with the duties that concern court processes to give litigants and other court users cause for joy when they appear for services.
The state deputy governor Dr. Ude Oko Chukwu in his address stated that judiciary staff must be committed to delivering justice fairly, impartially, and expeditiously, promoting equal access to justice and advancing local jurisprudence by upholding the rule of law in line with the Constitution.
According to him, the Judiciary in Nigeria nay Abia State no doubt needs comprehensive reformation and retooling in line with global practices for optimal performances hence “all reformation and transformation initiatives already in place should be consolidated and improved upon by all Judicial stakeholders.