…As Anambra State Judiciary Inaugurates 2023/2024 Legal Year
By Gloria Ibesi and Vivian Ononiwu
The Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, has admonished members of the Anambra State Judiciary to take some minutes of sober reflection and talk to themselves in the privacy of their minds, in a period he says Nigeria has become an object of ridicule before the entire world because of the misdemeanor of some persons in the profession.
The Bishop made these remarks during his brief reflection in a Holy Mass celebrated to mark the commencement of the 2023/2024 Legal Year on 10 November 2023 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, Anambra State.
Bishop Ezeokafor stated that the actions of the Supreme Court had failed the country, especially in matters concerning the last Presidential Election. He noted that the Nigerian Judiciary, which, he said, was perceived as the last hope of the common man, had been put to serious ridicule.
‘Events in the very recent past in the Nigerian Judiciary; worst at her highest level, the Supreme Court, in the matters concerning the presidential election, have put the Nigerian Judiciary to serious ridicule. It has been the accepted and hallowed belief that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. Today, that firm belief seems to have been completely the opposite in many people’s minds,’ he said.
The bishop emphasized that many developed countries progressed because of the primacy they gave to the rule of law and the faithful enforcement of laws without respecting person or titles, adding that the judiciary was supposed to checkmate the excesses of the executive arm of government.
He however regretted that the reverse seemed to be the case and that positive progress had constantly eluded Nigeria.
The prelate said the gathering was convened to commit the Legal Year into the hands of God, stating that putting God first mattered a lot, especially in our society where many institutions, including the Judiciary, were wobbling between a step forward and thousands of steps backward.
Bishop Ezeokafor further advised members of the Judiciary to engage in sober reflections on the situation of the country, noting that the positive change must come from them, individually and collectively.
In response, the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Onochie Anyachebelu, assured that the judiciary would reclaim its role as the hope of the common man and all people of goodwill. He stressed that if the public no longer perceived the judiciary as meaningful, it would lose its significance.
Also at the occasion, the Governor of Anambra State, Gov Chukwuma Soludo, represented by His deputy, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, urged the judiciary to be alive to their responsibilities not only as the last resort for the common man but for everyone. He encouraged Nigerians to remain focused, assuring them that there was considerable light at the end of the tunnel.
Expressing gratitude to the judiciary for their collaborative efforts with the executive and legislative branches, Governor Soludo acknowledged the successful implementation of various programmes within the governance framework
The event was graced by a host of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, (SAN), judges, magistrates and members of the bar and many other dignitaries within and outside the state.