By Daniels Igoni
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called on the political class to allow the judiciary carry out its constitutional functions, saying society is dynamic.
He made the call during the book presentation/reception that concluded a week-long activities marking the retirement of the Bayelsa State Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, in Yenagoa on Friday.
Jonathan acknowledged the critical role Justice Abiri played when she swore in the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, thus averting a constitutional crisis.
Advising politicians not to be blinded by the power they wield, the former President also cautioned judicial officers to strive to be impartial and courageous in upholding the rule of law which, he noted, was significant in the delivery of justice.
Jonathan said, “I advise politicians that while in office, let us not try to blackmail the judiciary because it is conservative. When we get political power, we get so blinded. Politicians should know that society is changing.
“Today, we are celebrating our retiring Chief Judge because she has served meritoriously. In 2015, she left Bayelsa for Rivers to perform the swearing-in of the governor thereby averting anarchy. It appears that the judicial arm is more functional than the executive.”
In his remarks, the Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri, congratulated Justice Abiri for her outstanding achievements, noting that during her 15-year term as Chief Judge, she swore in three governors in Bayelsa and one in Rivers.
Diri described Abiri as a legal icon, who rendered unblemished and meritorious service in three decades of legal practice, adding that the state would still require her services due to her commitment and wealth of experience.
Chairman of the occasion and chairman of the Body of Benchers, Wole Olanikpekun (SAN), lauded Abiri as an elegant, brilliant and hardworking jurist, who represents the best in the legal profession.
Three books were unveiled at the event which include, “Kate Abiri: Footprints on the Bench,” “Judges and Judging in Nigeria” and “Bayelsa State Law Reports: Volume One.”
In her response, Justice Abiri expressed appreciation particularly to the Bayelsa State governor for making her experience under his administration seamless, owing to the financial autonomy he introduced.
Source: The Punch