February 06, (THEWILL) – His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma, since he assumed office as the Executive Governor of Imo State, has not only recorded transformative feats in the arms of government but the Judiciary in particular has received greater attention.
His administration has taken steps towards enhancing the working conditions of the Imo Judiciary staff. Today, workers in the State Ministry of Justice and other legal services establishments are impressed that the Shared Prosperity administration is a legal-friendly government.
It is also clear that Governor Uzodimma has made history by unveiling the Imo State Law Reports of 2004 to 2022. This is the first of its kind since the creation of our dear State. The law reports cover the judgments and rulings of the High Court and the Court of Appeal in Imo State for the past 18 years. Is this not a big achievement? Recall that the Governor’s predecessors could not do this during their administrations.
The Governor unveiled the law reports in 2023, saying the publication was part of his administration’s 3R mantra of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery. Sen. Uzodimma also disclosed that he was committed to restoring the dignity and independence of the judiciary in Imo.
During the well-attended ceremony that was graced by who is who from within and outside Nigeria, which took place at the Concorde Hotel, Owerri, the Governor, at the auspicious occasion, lauded the efforts of judges and lawyers who contributed to the law reports, saying that they had enriched the legal profession and enhanced the administration of justice, therein urging them to continue to keep up the rule of law and protect the rights of the citizens.
The Governor’s giant strides forced the guest of honour at the event, Honourable Justice Mary Odili, wife of the former Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili, and a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, to shower encomium on him, saying: “The law reports are legacy projects of Governor Uzodimma. He has shown his vision and passion for development by embarking on this historic initiative.”
Recently, the Governor inaugurated a dedicated Small Claims Court to handle judicial matters involving claims of N5 million or less. This new Court is said to provide a faster, simpler and more affordable avenue for resolving minor financial disputes and ease the burden on both the court system and citizens. This is really commendable!
On the other hand, The indefatigable Imo State Chief Judge (CJ), Honourable Justice Theresa Chukwuemeka-Chikeka, has brought about a tremendous transformation in the judiciary since her appointment by the Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodimma. Also, all members of the bench and bar are impressed with her leadership style.
Justice Chukwuemeka-Chikeka, in line with Governor Uzodimma’s “3R” agenda, has really guided the State judiciary on the path of innovation, positive reforms and effective leadership, which has prevailed in the cordial relationships between the Imo Judiciary, Executive and Legislature.
Interestingly, onlookers have also attributed the breakthroughs in the judicial system to the appointment of a God-fearing, humble, quintessential Justice cum technocrat par excellence, Justice Chikeka.
In addition, the Imo State Commissioner in the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, Barrister Cyprian Akaolisa, a purposeful legal luminary, has brought in super innovations, as well as articulated policies and programmes into the State Ministry of Justice. It is worth noting that the aggressive reforms chipped in by the Attorney General, Akaolisa, in the State have brought Imo to where it is today.
These numerous achievements garnered under the Shared Prosperity administration of the Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, you will agree with me, have holistically neutralised the daunting challenges confronting the State Ministry of Justice. Not only that, he repositioned the sector for effective service delivery as well as ensuring access to justice for all and sundry.
The Justice Ministry, which is saddled with the responsibility of checking public institutions and sectors to avoid legal tussles arising from breach of agreement, has also been taken to greater heights.
Upon his emergence as Imo Governor, Sen. Uzodimma came up with a Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery (3R) concept through which he has superlatively succeeded in digitising activities of the Imo State Judicial daily activities.
An objective reader may ponder why a Governor who is not a lawyer may embark on revolutionising the Justice sector on such an expansive and ambitious scale. We are not surprised. Let us bear in mind that Governor Uzodimma is a beneficiary of a courageous and uncompromising judiciary. Why would he not strive to make this Arm of government happy?
While presenting his 2024 budget speech, the Governor made this hearty comment: “The judiciary is an important organ of the government on which the common man relies for justice. Conscious of this, the government, through its law reform commission, carried out an effective and efficient review and reform of the laws of the state. The Laws of Eastern Nigeria 1963 Volumes 1,2,3,4,5,6, and 7 were revised. Obsolete and spent laws have been identified and archaic language and aspects of the law that require amendments have been identified, reviewed, and compiled for further legislative actions by the Imo State House of Assembly. Also, to reinforce the judiciary, the government has commenced the process of appointing more High Court judges and customary Court of Appeal judges. This process is ongoing.”
The above statement is an indication that Sen. Uzodimma places a high premium on the Imo State Judiciary and, if you ask me, this Arm of government is the apple of his eye and the Governor can not afford to let it down.
May God bless Imo State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.