The Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodimma has pleaded with the newly sworn-in Chief Judge of Imo, the President of the Customary Court of Appeal and eight other Justices of the high court and customary court not to betray the confidence reposed in them by the society.
Governor Uzodimma urged them to take seriously their oath of office, having at the back of their mind, the regard that the judiciary is ‘’the last hope of the common man.”
Those the Governor swore in Wednesday at the New Executive Chambers Government House Owerri include the Imo State Chief Judge, Justice Theresa Eberechukwu Chikeka and the President Customary Court of Appeal Owerri, Justice Victor Okorie.
Others were eight Judges of the Imo State High Court and three Judges of the Customary Court of Appeal.
Addressing them after the swearing-in the Governor also reminded them that the oath of office they took is “a call to service, a tasking one and as such must be carried out with the sincerity of purpose it deserves.”
The Governor said: “We need a Judiciary that will stand the text of time and this can only be achieved when the profession and performance of the judiciary is seen as the Citadel of Justice.
“Over time, there has been a lot of blame on the judiciary as regards making justice too costly to the common man and the gap between the common man and the judiciary has become too wide.”
He then pleaded with the Chief Judge and her colleagues to do all within their powers to narrow the gap.
Governor Uzodimma reminded the Judges that “the three arms of Government are one and interwoven as the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary work in conjunction and in pari-pasu.”
He therefore advised some Judges who, for one reason or the other, but best known to them, take decisions that are embarrassing to both the people and government of the State, to desist from such acts.
Governor Uzodimma once more enjoined them to “see themselves as workers who have come to serve the interest of the people and should do all within their powers to restore the statement that judiciary is the last hope of common man.”
The Governor however eulogized Justice Chikeka’s efficiency, saying that as an Acting Chief Judge he found in her an efficient and effective Judge “who is ready to give her best while in the office.”
“One is not known by the toga one wears but by performance and public assessment.”
In a vote of thanks on behalf of her colleagues, the Chief Judge thanked God for the Grace he gave the Governor to swear them in.
She promised that they will abide by the oath of conduct they took and that by “the Grace of God” they “will not fail the Government and people of Imo State in particular and Nigeria in general.”
She assured that she will lead Imo State Judiciary to another level.
The newly sworn-in High Court Judges include: Justice Chinyere Ngozi Okereke, Justice Anthoneth Chinyere Onyeukwu, Justice Innocent Chidi Ibeawuchi, Justice Obinna Emmanuel Nwachukwu, Justice Lotanna Chukwunyere Leo Alino and Justice Michael Bless Onyekachi.
Those of the Customary Court of Appeal include: Justice Okafor Emeka and Justice Chinemerem Ijeoma Onuegbu.
Present at the swearing-in were: former Chief of Imo State, Justice Paschal Nnadi, serving and retired Judges of Imo State, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Representative of the Nigerian Bar Association and Judicial Service Commission.
On the side of the State Executive Council were the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Kenndy Ibe, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, the Chief of Staff, Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie, the Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice, Barr. C.O.C Akaolisa, other top Government functionaries and the Chairman Imo Elders Council Forum, Eze (Dr.) Cletus Ilomuanya.