Implications of not having Chief Judge in C’River State is far-reaching – Ndoma-Egba
BY our admin.
Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN, former leader of the Senate in the 7th National Assembly has pointed out the far-reaching implications for Cross River State not having a Chief Judge in a substantive nor acting capacity.
Ndoma-Egba who had interaction with newsmen in Calabar pointed out that the absence of a Chief Judge of Cross River State Judiciary has consequential effects on the litigants, detainees, and practicing lawyers.
According to him, “take, for instance, a litigant who is a tenant and has paid his rent but a dubious landlord suddenly says he has not paid and wants to evict him in seven days. The tenant with evidence of rent receipt runs to court to stop the landlord; there is no Chief Judge to assign the case; So he suffers innocently. Same a person who has been wrongfully detained. He runs to court, there is to Chief Judge to assign the case; he remains in wrongful detention.”
“For lawyers who want to apply for the status of a senior Advocate of Nigeria or to be made a Judge, there is also a requirement for the number of cases within a particular period and if the period so considered is a period within which we have no Chief Judge in Cross River State, then it is possible that in the next three to four years lawyers practicing in Cross River State will miss out in the appointment of Senior Advocates of Nigeria and in the appointment of Judges”.
He noted that the problem over the vacuum in the position of the Chief Judge of the State can be solved by the state governor and he has asked those close to him to advise him because the right thing has to be done.
The right thing he said, is to confirm the most senior Judge in the state, Justice Akon Ikpeme to take the seat as the state Chief Judge.
He argued that the position of the State Legislature in refusing to confirm her after a recommendation from the National Judicial Council is unconstitutional and untenable. “So also is the position of the governor who prefers another person in place of Justice Ikpeme.”
“I have nothing personal against Governor Ayade. All I am saying is; abide by the constitution and do the correct thing. People should not suffer because of your personal preference. A similar thing was attempted by some other governors in Imo, Rivers and Abia States, the NJC did not concede an inch of their constitutional territory. They will not concede to Cross River State either. They will stand by the constitution of the country. I think the Governor is rather not helping Justice Eneji who is making himself available for the governor. When it happened elsewhere, it was the judges who made themselves available against the constitutional provisions that suffered.”
The former senate leader also spoke of Nigeria at 60 regretting that much has not been achieved for the prosperity of the nation and her people. However, he thanked God that after a deadly civil war, we are still together.
In his words, "the structure we have today in Nigeria cannot deliver the development we need to see. More states may have been an albatross for Nigeria if you consider other countries like India, Malaysia, and Brazil. We were all at per. those countries have gone far above us and we need to see what they did well and what we did wrong. One quick thing to note is that; take India for example' they have maintained their provinces, creating just one or two additional. We created many states, where is the development comparatively?"