Thursday, 29 October 2015

JUSTICE UMEZULIKE CALLS FOR INCLUSION OF RETIRED JUDGES, OTHERS IN ELECTION TRIBUNAL

Justice Innocent Umezulike
The Enugu State Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezulike, has called for the incorporation of retired judicial officers of courts, reputable senior lecturers and professors of universities into the election tribunals, the best-selling and most sought after online business and political news and articles publishers, Tectono Business Review, reports.

Justice Umezulike made this call in view of the paralysis of judicial process and proceedings in jurisdictions from where tribunal judges are drawn. According to him, constituting the trial election tribunals with retired judicial officers has the advantage of undivided attention, dedication to the exercise together with experience and savvy.

He observed that the current exercise where tribunal chairmen and members are drawn from among serving judicial officers of superior courts has compounded the capacity of jurisdictions where the judges are drawn; stressing that reviewing the system could encourage honesty, courage and desire to leave a good legacy.

The Enugu Chief Judge spoke during the opening of the 2015/2016 legal year ceremony. He underscored the importance of having a strong and good Bar, stressing that the Bar and Bench must work together to ensure a strong and effective administration of justice. He also lamented the manner of appointment of judges in the judiciary, saying it has often compromised the quality of justice at the courts.

While proffering solution to the challenge, Justice Umezulike stated that from the next appointment exercise of judicial officers of the state, he would recommend to the State Judicial Service Commission the wholesale adoption of C.J Okoli’s guidelines, which in 2005 in Anambra State, produced judges that could stand with all judicial legends in Nigeria.

In his own words: “It is my desire to approximate the above approach so as to strive to inaugurate a very strong and knowledgeable Bench where every judicial officer is a Supreme Court material. The courtroom exposure and academic publications inherent in the above guidelines will always produce a strong and knowledgeable Bench.

“Notwithstanding the National Judicial Council’s fundamental regulations which strictly bar lobbying for the appointment of judges, some members of the Bar still lobby menacingly for the job. I hereby plead that members of the Bar should understand the manifest impossibility of accommodating all interested contenders in the extremely limited chances allotted to the state judiciary.”

Given a breakdown of cases at the three levels of courts in the state as at January to December last year, he stated that a considerable number of the cases were either tried or dispensed with, adding however that there was need for improved effort.