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Chief Judge urges Obiano to make rule of law a pillar of development

by Editor

October 5, 2017 | 12:36 am
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The Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Peter Nnanna C. Umeadi, last week in Awka urged the State Governor, Chief  Willie Maduabuchi Obiano  to include the make the judiciary as one of the pillars of his wheels of  development to open  Anambra  State  for massive and unprecedented  foreign investment.

Justice Umeadi made this statement in response to Governor Obiano’s speech at the   Church service marking the commencement of the Anambra State Judiciary 2017/ 2018 Legal Year held at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith Awka.

Governor Obiano had in his speech at the event stated that based on constant   promptings of the Chief Judge, he had elevated the Judiciary as an Enabler in the State.

“This means an increase in its budget which will be reflected in its budget next year,” the Governor said.

The Anambra State wheels of development are comprised of Pillars, Enablers and Outcomes and the Governor stated that he has made the Judiciary an enabler.

 Speaking about this development, the Chief Judge, Justice Umeadi said, “During the service to usher in the  2017/2018 legal year, I did hear the Governor, Chief Willie Obiano  say that  and I began to applaud, but I  stopped,  when he said  that he has now  elevated the rule  of law on the constant prodding of my humble  self  to one of the Enablers in Anambra State development wheel of progress as they say.

On why he stopped clapping, the CJ said: “ I stopped clapping because much as I appreciate what His Excellency has done by bringing  out in public what I have been doing to him,  trying to place the rule of law where it belongs. I do not think that he has gone far enough, if you look at the Anambra State wheel of developments, they are broken into pillars, enablers and outcomes.

“The Governor has four pillars which spills over to Enablers and Outcomes.  In my speech at the fifth Annual Chief Judges Dinner and Awards Night here in Awka on March 19, 2016, I did say that,  “a look would show that the Anambra State wheel of development are broken into pillars, enablers and outcomes. With humility it is located that the pillars would need one cardinal, irreducible, irreplaceable and yet fundamental element of development, which is the rule of law.

“Let the rule of law be added as one of the pillars, bringing the total number to five, the Enablers for this new pillar of  rule of law will be the erection of infrastructure for the dispensation of justice coupled with the systematic funding of the judiciary to enable training and retraining of the of the requisite manpower. The outcomes will include unenforced inflow of foreign investments,  protection of intellectual property,  enhanced standards of living and  the tendency to explore the realms of science and technology.”

Justice Umeadi further stated that Anambra State was building a structure that can survive without external funding including the Federal Allocation at the centre.

“And this is what the Governor is saying, that his aim is to build Anambra State, so that those coming after him would be able to pay salaries without external aid and he has done creditably well. Currently  with the current  economic challenges, Anambra State has not broken in its payment of salaries, pensions and emoluments to people.

“Based on several engagements and discourse we have had on the Rule of Law, the Governor is now paying more attention to the rule of law and the judiciary as an enabler. This is going to affect our budget and perhaps,  the things we are  doing  in the judiciary will receive an upbeat, the next financial year and our budget will be higher, that is a wonderful thing to know.

“However, asking that the rule of law be made the fifth pillar is a contradiction in terms because the rule of law ought to be the first pillar and I give you an example; If we are banking on the influx of capital of investment from outside, to drive the economy of Anambra State, how do we assure these investors on the resolution of their commercial disputes? Would they be confident of the process?

“If investors are assured about their investments in Anambra State and and the dispute resolution mechanisms in the state, then they require no urging. They will simply bring their investments into such an investment-friendly environment.

“For this reason, we must continue to build up your justice delivery system in such a way that it could be trusted to be above corruption, to also ensure the speedy dispensation of justice. This, we have tried to sell to  the governor as much as we can.

“For any sort of development to take place, for our dream investors to come into the state to invest, we must strengthen our justice delivery system which is based on the rule of law and the judiciary is a key part of this process,” The Chief Judge said.

Also speaking at the Legal year service on the topic: “Why are you in the judiciary at the time like this, why are you a lawyer, a Magistrate, a Judge, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in such a time as this?” The lord Bishop of the Diocese of Awka, Anglican Communion, Rt. Reverend Alexander Chibuzo Ibezim admonished those in justice sector to rise and defend the rights of the poor and less privileged in the society.

He said: “The passages we have read this morning here speaks for itself and we must verbalise it. There is a problem in the legislature, there is a problem in the Judiciary and in the executive arm of government. The earlier we start discussing the issues confronting us as a nation, as a judiciary, the we are nearing the solution. Today, there is no hope for the poor, thje level of poverty is so high, the rich seek medical attention abroad, build good houses, move around with security. Men have failed that nation, women should be give a chance. Men have been governors all along, if people like you don’t  sit up, there will be a revolution. As we read in Exodus chapter 23: 1-9, You are there to dispense truth and  justice.

“The Senior Advocates of Nigeria should extend justice to the poor, to those whose land is being taken by force from them in the villages. You are in the judiciary to fight injustice, to fight corruption and to fight for the poor. In the book of Esther chapter 4, She rose up to the challenge and said: “ I f I perish, I perish” Without prayers internally, there will be problems externally. The children of Israel prayed internally and were saved from Harman externally.  Let your communion be with God Almighty because He is the ultimate judge and has placed you there to glorify God Almighty.

Time will come when all the judges including those they judge will sit before God Almighty to face  judgment. The bishop chided Nigerians who always say negative things about the country saying that our attitude everyday would always be  that it shall be well with Nigeria  just like Americans would always say about America.

The Chief Judge ,  Justice Umeadi  stated that this is the Anambra State of our dream, this is the legal year of our dream,  it starts from the top he said: “ We must thank people like Peter Obi who brought  civility  into the governance of Anambra State. Before him, Chris Ngige  was there and did his best and people like Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano are people that the judiciary would continue to hold dear in the administration of justice and the promotion of the Rule of Law in Anambra State.

In his speech, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Anambra State, Anali Chude expressed gratitude to the Governor for giving the Anambra State judiciary headquarters a facelift, making it possible for the judiciary in Anambra State to continue to work under very conducive environment even as he commits himself to timely release of allowances due to the judiciary in the State.

“I request my lord the Chief Judge of Anambra State synergizes with the Executive arm in the area of prosecution of revenue cases by eliminating unnecessary delays in the prosecution of offenders in the State.  Without a strong internally generated revenue base, it will be impossible to meet up with the demands on government in this era of economic crunch in the country. It is the cardinal objective of the present administration in Anambra State, that  inspite of the economic  challenges in the country, the State economy will not suffer retrogression”  Chude stated.

by Editor

October 5, 2017 | 12:36 am
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