Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson, and former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, yesterday paid glowing tributes to the late retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Niki Tobi, describing his death as a personal loss to him (Dickson), the government and people of the state as well as the entire Ijaw nation.
“In his demise, the Ijaw nation and indeed Nigeria have lost one of its very best and he will be painfully missed by all,” he said.
The governor in a condolence message to the family of the late jurist, the government and people of Delta State, said Justice Niki Tobi was “a thoroughbred, highly principled, upright and intelligent personality, whose contributions to the legal profession and nation building would remain indelible in the history of Nigeria.”
Dickson said he received the news of Justice Tobi’s death with shock, sadness and a great sense of loss.
As Chairman of the 2005 National Political Reforms Conference, under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dickson said: “Justice Tobi gave exceptional and enviable leadership to arguably the best brains in the land in the process of recreating a nation we could all truly call our own.”
Justice Tobi, a native of Esanma in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, died on June 19, 2016, after a protracted illness at the age of 76 years.
Kalu described Tobi as an outstanding legal icon, who committed his career to the development of the Nigerian judicial system, adding that his demise is a painful loss not only to the judiciary but also to the nation at large.
According to the former governor, the late jurist, who was one-time Dean of the Faculty of Law and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Services), University of Maiduguri, demonstrated professionalism, selflessness and forthrightness in his academic and legal endeavours.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Kunle Oyewumi, Kalu, said: “Nigeria has lost a great personality. Justice Niki Tobi was a shining light in the judiciary.
“His intellectual capacity was of immense value to several verdicts of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court where he served in different capacities.
“It is worthy to acknowledge the significant role played by Justice Tobi in the review of the draft 1999 Constitution under the regime of General Abdulsalam Abubakar.
“The good deeds of the late academician and legal luminary will remain evergreen in the minds of Nigerians..”
“As we mourn the former Supreme Court Judge, it is my prayer that God Almighty will give the deceased’s family the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.”
The businessman admonished the Tobi family to take solace in the fact that their patriarch lived a purposeful life worthy of emulation, adding that his legacies must be emulated by those he left behind.
While commiserating with the government and people of Delta State, the Justices and Staff of the Supreme Court and the entire judiciary in Nigeria, Kalu prayed God to grant the deceased a blissful rest.