Obaseki Promises To Build Personal Houses For Edo Judges

By Iduozee Paul, Benin Correspondent Hope has come to judges in Edo State as the  governor, Governor Godwin Obaseki has promised to build personal ho

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By Iduozee Paul, Benin Correspondent

Hope has come to judges in Edo State as the  governor, Governor Godwin Obaseki has promised to build personal houses for judges in the state just  as he reiterated speedy completion of the chief justice’s quarters.

Justifying the gesture, Obaseki explained that as judges who have served the state and the nation meritoriously, they are supposed to enjoy good accommodation.

He stressed the need to create good welfare packages for judges to boost their moral as he called for building good value and moral in the educational sector.

The governor made the remarks at a public lecture organized by the Faculty of Law of Benson Idahosa University, Benin city. He said that was the first time he was seeing legal icons, religious leaders and other academic professionals gathered like this, since he became the governor two years ago.

The governor also doled out N25million to the Justice Ikponmwen Foundation to support and train female lawyers because of the passion the CJ has for female education and empowerment.

He extolled the management of the BIU for charting and promoting a new course of education in the state, and for putting the event together. He thanked the chief justice of Edo State, Justice Esohe Ikponmwen for bringing about changes and  innovation to the judiciary since her appointment as CJ.

Said Obaseki:
“In my view, we have done quite enough to stabilize the politics of government of the state. It must not be only singular efforts of the government alone. Without the efforts of the chief judge and the Oba of Benin, I do not think we would have the courage, fortitude to take bold courageous steps taken since over two years in office.’’

“This is the first time I am seeing this round table made up of intellectual brains with professionals, legal and religious discussion like this. We used to have discussions like this in Ibadan, Lagos and in the universities’ settings.’’

” So, many issues had been raised is this public lecture. The governor noted that vital issues on the relationship between the justice system, judicial system and the state, without which the Nigerian democracy, economy and social arrangement will be a waste have been discussed at the roundtable.’’

“So, as a government, we appreciate that essence. As my late Uncle, Justice Otutu Obaseki will often say, ”The grand norms for our existence as a government is not based on the abundance of the law, but is based on the law in the constitution.

” If we do not uphold the law, sooner or later we will have problems in our state, that is why we have placed premium on the judiciary. We emphasized the physical appearances that define what we intend to do.

“The first thing I did, when I came was to build and complete the houses of the chief justices and to make sure that these houses are better than the governor’s lodge. Then, we moved on to revamp the High Courts, and we will proceed to the Magistrate Courts. We are doing it gradually all through the state. I started by renovating the Judges quarters. “When we started it, we realized that we have much responsibility, not only to our judges in the state, but that we should also make sure we take care of those judges who we have the privilege of hosting if there is any vital event in the state. Next year, the emphasis is in my budget to build befitting housing accommodation for serving judges in Edo State”.

The governor said another area of concern is the health of judges.

“We would not stop, we are very concerned about the well-being of our judges, and we are going to create better welfare packages for the judges in the state. I am very worried and concerned about the healthcare of our judges. I will want us to review how we can give good health insurance scheme to our judges. I will like to work with you to ensure our judges have quick access to world-class healthcare services.

“I don’t want a situation whereby our judges, having served in the ” Bench and Bar,” up to 15 years cannot point to a good house when they retire. By the grace of God, this year we are going to commence building judges personal housing programme. I really appreciate what you have been doing for the judiciary since your assumption as the CJ, ” Obaseki said to the CJ.

Delivering a lecture on the topic, ‘The Art and Essentials of Judgment Writing: A Critical Appraisal of The Judgment of Pontius Pilate,” the chief judge of Edo State, Hon. Justice Esohe  Ikponmwen said the aim of judgment is to deliver ‘justice.’

Hon. Justice Esohe Ikponmwen explained that  most judicial work is based on drafting or writing judgment.  “We all judge everyday by our action.” The former chairman of the Magistrates Association of Nigeria, Edo state branch from 1998-1999 used the judgment against Jesus Christ given by Pontius Pilate in the Bible to exemplify her lecture.
The CJ who is the guest lecturer, asserted that a society can only be called a ” Just” one if institutions charged with the duty of giving judgment do so based on a set of principles, which sustain dignity and productivity for every citizen of that society.

Citing Grand System Petroleum Ltd Vs Access Bank Plc, Hon. Ikponmwen posited, “All that a good judgment requires is that it must contain some well-known constituent parts.”

”The constituent parts of a judgment which are legal frame-work for ‘justice delivery,’ are the essentials, which form bases for assessing the rationality of the judge, not the technical art of judgment writing or the oratorical prowess of the judge.’’

Dwelling on how a good judgment should look like; she outlined that, it must set out the nature of the action, the issue in dispute, review the case for the parties, consider the applicable law and cases and make specific findings of fact, and give reason for arriving at the decisions.

The former chairman Yobe State Election Petition Tribunal in 2015, said, in a case where the law allows death sentence,  there is additional burden on the thinking process in adjudication.

Quoting, lowoyo Vs State, the CJ said the same court held the following: ” A judgment which sends a man to the gallows to await the hangman to execute him at any minute must be punctured by logical thinking based on cogent and admissible evidence in which the facts leading to his conviction are clearly found and legal references are carefully drawn, can hardly be allowed to stand, if founded in scraggy reasoning or perfunctory performance.

In his address of welcome earlier, acting VC, Benson Idahosa University, Prof. Sam Guobadia, said justice is very vital in delivering judgment. He noted that the current situation in the country  requires adequate justice to see the progress of Nigeria.

Prof. Guobadia said all judges in Nigeria must deliver their judgment with the fear of God. ”If we don’t have fair justice, there is no way we can advance and move Nigeria forward.’’

Acting Dean, Faculty of Law, BIU, Dr. Stella Idehen in her speech said the faculty had recorded giant strides in every ramification since commencement.

She revealed that, the Lecture Theatre was named after Justice Esohe Ikponmwen in recognition of her contributions to the building.  She appealed for more support from participants to enable them meet other needs in the faculty.

The public lecture also had in attendance,  representatives of the Oba of Benin, the Iyase of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe and the Esogban of Benin, Chief David Edebiri, chief judge of Delta, Ekiti and Ondo states, SANs, academics, serving judges and retired judges, among others.