By Ifeanyi Olannye
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has sworn in Justices Theresa Diai as Chief Judge of Delta and Patience Elumeze as President of the Customary Court of Appeal, respectively.
In a speech at the brief event at the Government House in Asaba, Okowa charged them to ensure regular training of judicial workers in the state.
He said that judicial education and constant training of critical workers were imperative to enhance quality of justice delivery and performances of courts in the state.
He thanked the Speaker, Sheriff Oborevwori, and members of the Delta House of Assembly for their prompt confirmation of the appointments.
He expressed joy over the robust relationship between the executive and legislature, describing the house members as partners in progress rather than rivals.
“As long as this partnership is sustained, we shall continue to gain new grounds in our quest to build a smart, strong and safe Delta ,” Okowa said.
He said: “History has been made with the confirmation of Justice Diai as the Chief Judge of Delta and Justice Elumeze as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Delta.
“Rarely does it happen that you have two women heading both tiers of the judiciary in the state at the same time.
“As a state, we are proud to set the pace in this regard. I congratulate them.
Okowa charged the judicial heads to continue in the tradition of team work, excellence and exemplary leadership in the stead of their predecessors.
“As you may have experienced by now, your new positions require a lot of patience, resourcefulness, dexterity to manage the demands and pressure on your time and space.
“I urge you to continue to promote, preserve and protect the principles of natural justice, fair hearing, equity and good conscience, which are the pillars upon which the judiciary rests.
“One area I want you to prioritise is judicial education, training and retraining.
“This is crucial to improving professional competence of judges and enhancing the quality of justice delivery and performance of our courts.
“Globally, the judiciary is constantly evolving, hence there is a compelling need to regularly update and upgrade your knowledge-base and that of other judicial officers through seminars, workshops as well as court manning to build competence in judicial skills and self awareness.
“As you may be aware, the state is in the process of amending the Delta House of Assembly Financial Autonomy Law 2018 and Delta Judicial Financial Autonomy Law 2020.”
The governor said the draft bills for the two legislations had been prepared.
He, however, said the state was waiting further input from the parties to the Memorandum of Action on some corrections to be made in the memorandum and the legal template, which would be due by next week.
“We are confident that Delta will meet the 45 days window for states to pass the amendments to return autonomy laws for both the judiciary and the legislature.
“But just to put on notice that this is an amendment to our own laws because we have already started practicing both legislative and judicial autonomy in the state.
“Indeed, this administration shall leave no stone unturned to continually raise the bar in enhancing efficiency and quality of legislation and justice delivery in the state,” Okowa said.
Responding, Diai said the appointment of the chief judge and president of the customary court of appeal passed through many stages.
She expressed appreciation to all the people who made it possible, including the governor.
She further thanked the speaker and members of the assembly for the prompt confirmation of their appointments.
She appealed for the cooperation of the executive and legislative arms of government with the judiciary in handling the tasks ahead.
The ceremony was attended by the Wife of the Governor, Mrs Edith Okowa, Dep. Gov. Kingsley Otuaro and Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Chief Ndudi Elumelu.
Also present was the Supreme Court Judge, Justice Chukwudumebi Oseji, speaker and other top government functionaries. (NAN).