Dear Enugu CJ, the Governor’s Efforts to Improve the State Judiciary Amount To Nothing Until All Cases Filed In Court Start and End Within 12 Months
I have just read that “the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Hon. Justice Priscilla Ngozi Emehelu, has paid glowing tribute to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his administration’s commitment in the provision of critical infrastructure for the State Judiciary to efficiently discharge its responsibilities in the state”. In response, the governor who “lamented the difficulties being experienced because of dearth of Judges, pointed out that the appointment of the new Judges was a timeous relief to the Enugu State Judiciary and the people of the state” (see BarristerNG). I respectfully disagree with each and both his lordship (or her Ladyship) and his excellency. 15 judges are not enough for Enugu State judiciary; Enugu State needs no fewer than 40 more state High Court judges if the state governor is truly interested in tackling “the difficulties being experienced because of dearth of Judges”.
Meanwhile, we all (the governors, the president and the CJ’s, the CJN and the PCA ans us all) are killing the justice system in Nigeria with the chronic delay in Justice administration and our affectation and grandstanding that tantamount to mere play-to-the-gallery or superficial surface-scratching that leave sore wounds all over the inside.
Appointing a total of 15 judges in four years is a gross underachievement and you have no reason to celebrate or applaud same. Besides, appointing more judges for the state is not a piece of favour by the governor nor a donation from his personal estate, but an aspect of his discharge of duties incumbent upon him for which he was elected and without which his governorship term and tenure is mere time-wasting and lame-ducking.
Until cases (all cases without exceptions), begun in the month of January of a particular year get concluded up to judgment before the January of the next year, all (y)our efforts at improving the lot of Administration of Justice in (y)our state and in Nigeria, are a hopeless waste of time and fruitless pursuit of shadows. There is no reason all ordinary civil cases could/would not be made to start and terminate (up to the Supreme Court) just like election petitions — within 12 months.
Finally, dear Enugu State Chief Judge, I do not think you are supposed to be publicly praising the Governor or “extolling his virtues” or “paying glowing tribute” to him. Your job is limited to independently administering the institution of the judicature, and then dispensing justice without fear or favor, and not to go looking for the head of another branch to praise or extol for merely doing his work, in a manner I respectfully see as an under-performance . Remember, the Governor’s case may come to your court soon. If you keep hobnobbing with the Governor, how detarched would you be in handling or assigning his cases or cases affecting him, his interest or his office?
Nigeria’s Justice sector is the most hopeless in the entire black race; the worst part is that we have not even begun making any credible efforts to improve upon the current abysmally appalling and ridiculously shameful situation.
This is my opinion.
And I am damn tired of saying “God help/bless Nigeria” (although that’s my wish, morning, afternoon, evening and night) because God is a God of Justice; He blesses only those who justly deserve His blessings and helps only those who first help themselves.
Sylvester Udemezue (Udems).