Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has sworn in Justice Afojulu Raymond Ozoemena as the new acting Chief Judge of the state.
This followed the retirement of Justice Ngozi Priscilla Emehelu, the immediate past Chief Judge of the state, from service on September 7, 2021.
Swearing in Ozoemena as the acting Chief Judge yesterday, Ugwuanyi explained that the decision was based on the order of seniority of the Judges of the state High Court as confirmed by the National Judicial Council (NJC) via its letter with Reference number: NJC/S.14/HC.EN/9/1/228 dated September 1, 2021.
The governor noted that the 1999 Constitution, as amended, did not contemplate that vacancy should exist in the office of the Chief Judge of a state given the sensitivity of the office and its functions.
He explained that Section 271 sub-Section 4 of the Constitution empowers the governor of a state to appoint the most senior Judge of the High Court to perform the functions of a Chief Judge of a state if vacancy occurs in the position until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office.
Ugwuanyi congratulated Justice Ozoemena for his well-deserved appointment, expressing confidence that he will bring his juristic erudition, diverse experience and gravitas to bear on the administration of the Enugu State judiciary.
He said: “I wish you well, and I pray for God to grant you the strength and wisdom to discharge this herculean duty.”
In his acceptance speech, Ozoemena thanked God, ‘who made it possible for him to be sworn in as the acting Chief Judge of the state’, and also appreciated Ugwuanyi for finding him worthy of the position.
He thanked the retired Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Emehelu, for the exemplary leadership qualities she showed during her time in the state judiciary, and promised to keep improving on the legacies she left behind.