Oyo, Bayelsa Swear in Acting Chief Judges

Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan and Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, yesterday, swore in Justice Iyabo Yerima, as the Acting Chief Judge of the state.  Similarly,  the  Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has sworn in Justice Matilda Abrakasa Ayemieye as the Acting Chief Judge of the state.

While swearing in the acting chief judge,   Makinde said that his administration would  continue to work with all other arms of government to ensure a system that the people of the state will be proud of.

The swearing in of Justice Yerima became imperative following the retirement of the immediate past Chief Judge, Justice Muntar Abimbola (rtd).

Governor Makinde, while speaking at the ceremony in Ibadan said his administration will give Justice Yerima the support needed to carry out her duties diligently.

The governor, who expressed confidence in the acting chief judge’s ability to steer the ship of the judiciary in the state, stated that she is fit and up to the task.

The governor explained that when re-elected, his administration will even do more to reduce the infrastructure deficit in the judiciary and complete the work of modernising the arm of government.

He said: “When we promised our people that the campaign will not disturb governance, this is exactly what we are talking about.” 

“We went out to campaign on Saturday and we know that our responsibility to the people of Oyo State, under this current tenure, will end on the night of May 28. Between now and then, they should hold us accountable and we will keep delivering good governance to them.

“Well, some people may wonder why we are swearing-in a Chief Judge in an acting capacity instead of a substantive Chief Judge.

“Well, there is a process. We will have to wait for the National Judicial Council (NJC) to send us their recommendation.

“So, while we await that, as they say in the judicial circle, ‘nature abhors vacuum,’ we have to fill in this vacuum in accordance with Section 271 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

“I must say that the fact Justice Yerima is the acting Chief Judge, it does not remove anything from her abilities, and on numerous occasions, she has acted on behalf of Hon. Justice Muntar Abimbola (rtd). So, she is up to the task and we have no fears about giving her this official recognition.

“Of course, for me, I brought in the first female SSG, and then I have the Head of Service, who is also a woman.”

The governor equally promised to give the new Acting CJ the necessary support needed to perform her duties, saying, “While Justice Yerima is serving, we will give her all the support needed to carry out her work as we did with the former Chief Judge.

“We all know that the Executive and the Judiciary are separate arms of government but working harmoniously will produce a kind of system that the people of Oyo State will be proud of.

“Our administration is always more interested in the office than in the person as that is how good system operates. “We are sure that if treated with the right level of honour and dignity, then, whoever occupies the seat, whether temporarily or permanently, will become a beneficiary. That is exactly what is happening,” he added.

The governor also charged the new Acting CJ not to waiver and to always stand for the truth, saying, “if you stand for the truth, you will be vindicated at the end of the day.

“Again, let me reaffirm our administration’s commitment to continue to work with all other arms of government to ensure the system of governance in Oyo State is working.

“Aside from collaboration, the Ministry of Justice and the Judiciary, at the policy level, have awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the High Court Complex at Ring-road and Magistrate Court at Iyaganku.

“The rehabilitation work is ongoing, though a little bit slow, which is a function of the resources, but we believe when we return under Omituntun 2.0, we will even do more to reduce the infrastructure deficit of the Judiciary and complete the work of modernising the arm of government.

“We know that this will boost the morale of those working there and, by extension, help to produce better justice system for all,” Governor Makinde added.

The acting Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Yerima, in her remarks, said every resource given and allotted to the judiciary will be judiciously utilised for the benefit of justice delivery and service to the good people of Oyo State.

She added that she would be counting on the support of the state government in administering an effective justice system, stating that her vision is  to make the Oyo State judiciary a pacesetter in the area of good infrastructure.

She said: “I give glory to God for such a time as this, and appreciate the governor for this opportunity to serve our Pacesetter state in this capacity.

“It really behooves on me at this time to do my very best for the good of Oyo State. As I stated some months back when I led the team of the judiciary to defend our 2023 budget, every resource given and allotted to the judiciary will be judiciously utilised for the benefit of justice delivery and service to the good people of Oyo State.”

In Bayelsa, Justice Ayemieye took the oath in acting capacity inside the Executive Council Chambers in Government House, Yenagoa.

Ayemieye steps in following last week’s retirement of Justice Kate Abiri, who served as Chief Judge of the state for 15 years.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah,  Governor Diri charged the new acting Chief Judge to maintain the cordial relationship between the executive and judicial arms of government in the state.

Diri said Ayemieye was eminently qualified for the position and tasked her to carry her colleagues along in the scheme of things in order to move the state judiciary to greater heights.

The state’s helmsman also urged other members of the judiciary to support her to enable her succeed.

His words: “The newly appointed Acting Chief Judge was the most senior of the judges and has been working harmoniously with her  predecessor, who also worked harmoniously with the other arms of government. So, beyond being a high court judge, you are now in government as the leader of the judicial arm. We expect that you will maintain the same harmonious relationship that this government has enjoyed with the judicial arm of government.

“Having gone through your CV, you have the pedigree to lead the judiciary. So, I wish you well and urge you to carry your colleagues along without discrimination. I pray that going forward you will move the state judiciary to greater heights.”

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