…As gov. sends NJC’s recommendation to RSHA
By Davies Iheamnachor, Port-Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has vowed that he would not drop the name of Hon. Justice Simeon C. Amadi, who was recommended to be confirmed the Chief Justice of the state by the National Judicial Council, NJC.
Wike maintained that he would not succumb to sentiment over who becomes the next Chief Judge of the State as he has already forwarded to the State House of Assembly the letter of recommendation from the National Judicial Commission (NJC).
According to a statement by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, the governor, who spoke when he received a delegation of Okpo Club of Nigeria on a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, said the process of appointment of a substantive Chief Judge was based on constitutionality and not sentiment.
Wike said the names of the two most senior judges of the State High Court were submitted by the State Judicial Service Commission to the NJC early in order to avoid the situation of having a Chief Judge in an acting capacity, adding that the state followed the recommendation of NJC.
The governor said: “I have conveyed the NJC’s recommendation to the House of Assembly. I am not the one who recommended, mine is to act on the recommendation of NJC. I never wrote a letter to NJC, I am not a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).”
“Nobody can intimidate me with any kind of sentiment. I will do what is right. We knew the crisis that happened here in this State and people do not want to distinguish it. What was the crisis? JSC submitted Daisy Okocha’s name and Agumagu’s name. Of course, Daisy Okocha was the most senior. But even at that, Agumagu was the President of the Customary Court of Appeal. NJC in their wisdom said no, we are going to recommend the most senior judge and recommended Daisy Okocha.
“The then Governor said no, I will not take the recommendation of NJC and went on his own to swear in Agumagu as acting Chief Judge. The Constitution is very clear. It is only the most senior that will be an acting Chief Judge and that was the crisis.
“In this case, there is nothing like acting chief Judge. I don’t want to have an acting Chief Judge. I want to do my own thing on time and we did it on time. And JSC in their wisdom submitted two people’s name and NJC recommended one and you are now playing politics that it is the governor.”
He said NJC is constitutionally empowered to recommend who becomes a Chief Judge, noting that it was mischievous for the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and some lawyers to politicise the appointment of judicial officers by the NJC.
He hinted at the possibility of establishing a new Judicial Division in the State, particularly in Bonny, in order to reduce the problems associated with justice delivery in that area.
The governors, however, enjoined the leadership of Okpo Club of Nigeria to be forthright in leading the association, resist mainstream politics interfering with their activities and ensure all members work as a team.
In his speech, Chairman of Okpo Club of Nigeria, Churchill Wosu said the association has a new executive that should be introduced to the governor who is one of their founding members.
Mr Wosu, on behalf of the association, commended the governor for his leadership courage, and determination to change the infrastructural landscape of the state and improving its socio-economic status.
The chairman urged the Rivers State government to consider the establishment of more divisional High Courts particularly in Obio and Emohua.