"Judiciary in Cross River State in needless, useless quagmire" - Ndoma-Egba SAN
By Our Admin
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Former Senate leader of the 7th National Assembly, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN has taken a swipe at the crisis in Cross River State Judiciary where there is presently no Chief Judge of the High Courts; neither in substantive nor acting capacity.
In his words, "the judiciary of Cross River State is passing through a most needless and indeed useless crisis of succession. I say needless and useless because if we had simply done what is right we will not be in this quagmire."
Speaking in Calabar on Wednesday during a special court session presided over by Justice Ayade E. Ayade and two others in honour of late Barrister Oriri Ekom Oriri, Senator Ndoma-Egba warned that judiciary should not sell themselves to politicians; including himself.
"There is no zoning in the judiciary", he added. "Justice, fairness and correctness are without colour, they are unisex and are without tribe or ethnic coloration. Therefore to ethnicize justice in anyway, especially by us lawyers, is to betray and belittle our calling, " he emphasized.
Giving further insight into the crisis in the state judiciary he said, "today there is no leadership in the judiciary of Cross River State as a result of which decisions cannot be taken and new cases cannot be assigned. This of course will negatively impact on the economy of lawyers and their professional growth all because the powers that be insist on their personal choices against the clear provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria."
He also gave a background of the judiciary in Cross River State, lamenting that "a judiciary that was the pride of the nation, a judiciary that once had Sir Darnley Alexandar, a West Indian, as Chief Justice ( as they were then called) cannot today have a Chief Judge, who spent all her life in Calabar and her working life with the Government of Cross River State, married to a prominent Efik whose children are Efik, because she is from Akwa Ibom State though Cross River by marriage."
"This is a State where Anijah Obi (an Ibo) was Solicitor General and Atakora Amoo (a Ghanaian) was Director, Civil Litigation, a State that had one of the earliest contacts with Western Civilization with an urbane and global view of issues retreating into an ethnic cocoon. This is certainly not what we want to look like or be remembered for, definitely not for a State that has produced two Chief Justices of the Federation, one of whom our own Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen is totally home grown, Dr. Okoi Arikpo SAN, Louis Edet, Chief Effiom Ekong SAN, Kanu Agabi SAN, Dr. Mathew Mbu, Justice Edem Koofreh, Margaret Ekpo Dan Archibong and many more. The State where Justice Wallace R.T. Macaulay served as Attorney-General, judge of the High Court and later Court of Appeal."
"Why in God's name are we retreating from the world to a closet, yet we claim to be promoting tourism. I do not pray that this should be Governor Ben Ayade's legacy. He is a lawyer. The right thing should be done so that we can move on. Power is transient and it is only useful if used for the common good and to promote the constitution. Our laws, Justice and equity, We must respect the sanctity of marriage and protect the family which is the foundation of society".
"I plead with their Lordships not to lend themselves to politicians, including me. Oriri's remains lying before us should remind all of us of our mortality."