‘Compose election tribunals with retired judges, others’

JusticeUgwuanyi, a prayer answered for Enugu people, says Mbaka
PERTURBED by paralysis of judicial process and proceedings in jurisdictions from where tribunal judges are drawn, Enugu State Chief
Judge, Justice Innocent Umezulike, yesterday advocated the composition of election tribunals with retired judicial officers of courts and reputable senior lecturers and professors of Universities.

He said constituting the trial election tribunals with retired judicial officers has the advantage of undivided attention, dedication to the exercise together with experience and savvy.

Umezulike noted that the current exercise where tribunal chairmen and members are drawn from among serving judicial officers of superior courts has compounded the capacity of jurisdictions where the judges are drawn; stressing that reviewing the system could encourage honesty, courage and desire to leave a good legacy.

Speaking during the opening of the 2015/2016 legal year ceremony,
Umezulike harped on the need for a strong and good Bar, stressing that the Bar and Bench must work together to ensure a strong and effective administration of justice.
He also lamented the manner of appointment of judges in the judiciary, saying it has often compromised the quality of justice at the courts.
To solve the challenge, the Chief Judge stated that from the next appointment exercise of judicial officers of the state, he would recommend to the State Judicial Service Commission the wholesale adoption of C.J Okoli’s guidelines, which in 2005 in Anambra State, produced judges that could stand with all judicial legends in Nigeria.

He said: “It is my desire to approximate the above approach so as to strive to inaugurate a very strong and knowledgeable Bench where every judicial officer is a Supreme Court material. The courtroom exposure and academic publications inherent in the above guidelines will always produce a strong and knowledgeable Bench.

“Notwithstanding the National Judicial Council’s fundamental regulations which strictly bars lobbying for the appointment of judges, some members of the Bar still lobby menacingly for the job.

“I hereby plead that members of the Bar should understand the manifest impossibility of accommodating all interested contenders in the extremely limited chances allotted to the state judiciary.”

Given a breakdown of cases at the three levels of courts in the state as at January to December last year, he stated that a considerable number of the cases were either tried or dispensed with, adding however that there was need for improved effort.

Meanwhile, speaking during a church service earlier, Catholic Priest,
Rev Fr Ejike Mbaka, urged members of the judiciary to embrace truth, fairness and justice in their dealings, stressing that many are languishing in prisons by their alleged failure to uphold justice.

Addressing members of the judiciary on the occasion, the priest warned the judicial officers to shun all acts of occultism as involving themselves in such activities will mean risking their lives.

“Some people are afraid of judges when they are dressed in robes.
While it is true that all of them are not cultists, some of them are cultist,” he said.

He enjoined judges to remember God when they speak in the court knowing that whatever they give in the court will come to their families in keeping with law of spiritual justice. He admonished them to depend on God and speak for those who don’t have advocates because when justice is denied, God is annoyed.

He reminded them that their profession is a vocation that should be applied for service of God and humanity, assuring them that no weapon fashioned against them would prosper if they hope and rely on God.

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