Encomiums as Legal Giants Bid Nwokedi Farewell in Enugu

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Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Encomiums flowed in torrents on Tuesday as judicial officers and renowned legal practitioners from Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra States paid their last respects to the late retired Justice of the Supreme Court and former Chief Judge of old Anambra State, Justice Paul Kemdilim Nwokedi.

Justice Nwokedi, 90, died on September 3, 2017 in Enugu after a brief illness.
At a joint valedictory court session held in his honour at the Enugu State High Court, Complex at Independence layout, Enugu, notable members of the bar and bench from the three states turned out in their numbers with a unanimity of opinion that the late jurist left lasting legacies on the sands of time.

The casket bearing the remains of the departed jurist was ushered into the hall at about 10:23a.m.
The two-hour court session presided by the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Ngozi Emehelu, had the Chief Judge of Ebonyi State, Justice Alloy Nwankwo, Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Umeadi represented by the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Anambra State, Samuel Okoye, retired Justice Chukwuma Eneh of the Supreme Court and Onyekachi Otisi, Justice of the Court of Appeal in attendance.

In her tribute, Justice Emehelu said it would be difficult to capture all aspects of the life of late Justice Nwokedi, noting that the late jurist’s practice in both the bar and bench was one characterised by complete devotion.
“He had no divided loyalty. His main love was given to the legal profession and in the true ethics of his judicial calling, he maintained a spotless life style,” she said, noting that the late justice retired gracefully from the apex court’s bench on November 2, 1991, upon the attainment of 65 years of age.

“To the best of my knowledge, in the public offices he held, he kept a clean record behind him and despite all the key positions he held at both the federal and state levels, he was never swayed by the trappings of office. He took no interest in wealth acquisition, estate development, hustling for and clinging to political offices. He lived a quiet, decent and modest life to the very end,” he said.

Other speakers, including the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Enugu State, Milletus Eze; Chairman of NBA, Enugu State, Nnamdi Otukwu; the Senior Advocates of Nigeria led by JHC Okolo and the Leader of Enugu, EJ Okereke, extolled the departed jurist for writing his name in gold.
“We have assembled in a very solemn and pensive mood to honour Nwokedi. His exit evokes emotion of thanksgiving for a life well spent. He has done his best and he left behind virtues worthy of emulation,” Eze said.

Otukwu on his part observed that the death of Nwokedi had unified the judiciary in Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra States, adding that if such solidarity was extended to other judicial activities, it would go a long way in fasttracking justice delivery in the area.

The son of the deceased, Mr. Uche Nwokedi (SAN), described his late father as a reference point who would always give direction to his children, adding that they would greatly miss his advisory role.
He said the galaxy of legal professionals that turned up at the valedictory session was a clear signal that one must be careful in his conducts, adding: “What I have seen here today is a lesson in humility. One must be humble because it pays at the long run.”