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GOV WIKE SWEARS IN FIRST FEMALE CHIEF JUDGE IN RIVERS



Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers state has declared that the swearing-in of the substantive Chief Judge of the state, Justice Daisy Wotube Okocha, is a victory for the rule of law and the respect for the rules of succession as outlined by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Governor Wike stated this on the 4th of January 2016 while swearing in Justice Okocha is the First Female Chief Judge of Rivers state. She had been the state’s acting Chief Judge since June 1, 2015.
Performing the swearing-in of Justice Daisy Wotube Okocha as the Chief Judge of Rivers state on Monday at the government house, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said that the state government acted in line with the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, NJC, which was confirmed by the Court of Appeal on December 23, 2015.

He said that with the recent development, it is clear that governors cannot willfully disrespect the recommendation of the NJC as was the case with the Amaechi administration in the state.
According to him, allowing the judiciary to be subjected to the discretion of sitting governors would desecrate the independence of the Judiciary and lead to abuses that would negatively affect the dispensation of justice.
He said: “The system will collapse if we refuse to respect the judicial system of succession as laid out. My administration will never do anything that will threaten the rule of law. We will always uphold the customs and traditions of the Judiciary. We never break down the laid down procedure.
“We will never run contrary to our avowed commitment to respect the independence of the Judiciary at all times.”
Governor Wike charged the new Chief Judge to always uphold the constitution and carry other members of the bench along in the decision making process.
The NJC recommended the appointment of Justice Daisy Wotube Okocha as Chief Judge of Rivers State on July 22, 2013, while the Court of Appeal on December 23, 2015 set aside a Federal High Court judgment which had initially ruled that the state governor is not bound to comply with the recommendation of the NJC.
In her remarks after being sworn in, the new Rivers State Chief Judge, Justice Daisy Wotube Okocha thanked God for making her elevation possible after two years of uncertainty.
Justice Okocha said: “This is a solemn moment for me. The NJC recommendation of 22nd July, 2013 came to manifestation on Monday, 4th January, 2016. God has glorified himself in my elevation as Chief Judge.
“Man can try, but only God’s counsel will prevail.”
She commended Governor Wike for giving the Judiciary the required independence to carry out its constitutional responsibilities.
The state Judiciary was in crisis for more than a year over the struggle over who is rightful person to head the Judiciary as the Chief Judge.
Justice Peter Agumagu politically became the choice of All Progressive Congress (APC) while Justice Daisy Okocha expectedly became the preferred choice for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The exit of Amaechi on May 29 and assumption of office of Governor Wike put paid to the logjam as Justice Okocha was sworn in Acting Capacity as Chief Chief Judge.