By Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, Esq.
The Judiciary, is one of the three arms of government, after the Executive and Legislature. It’s crucial roles in nation building cannot be over stated, viewed against the background of the importance of equity, justice, rule of law and the various windows of Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR.
It is common knowledge that the judiciary through the various levels of Courts of competent jurisdictions, is the hope of the common man. It connotes that every citizen, male or female, high or low, are equal before the law, in accordance with constitutional provisions, legal principles of equity and rule of law.
To this effect, every responsive and responsible government the world over, must ensure that the judiciary arm of government, is to a large extent, independent, but must of a necessity work closely with the other two arms of government; executive and lagislature, to bring about law and order, peace, security and good governance.
In Delta State, the immediate past administration of His Excellency, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, CON, raised the stake in the funding of judiciary, ensured that its financial independent status was and still sacrosanct through the legislative arm of government in the 8th Assembly.
Okowa administration also invested heavily in the area of infrastructure and welfare of Judges, Magistrates and other categories of judicial officers. The gigantic state of the art Courts complex is near completion, and when commissioned, Judges and judicial officers shall bask in the euphoria of a conducive work environment, improved self-worth in the discharge of their assigned responsibilities, especially unbiased dispensation of justice in the state.
On Sunday, October 8, the state governor, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, who is also a Justice of the Peace, JP, attended the annual Thanksgiving Service to mark the begining of the 2023/2024 legal year, in the state judiciary. He was audible and firm in his absolute determination to do more for the third arm of government.
Not unaware of the massive investment of his predecessor, Senator Okowa, in the judiciary in the past eight years, governor Oborevwori, disclosed that his administration will improve upon the legacy of Okowa administration in the judiciary, with a proviso that, My Lord, the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Theresa Diai, must of a necessity ensure timely dispensation of justice in all Courts.
The governor emphasized that “justice delayed, is justice denied,” and that under his watch as the head of government, the judiciary arm of government must be seen, and manifestly seen to the proactive, decisive, courageous and firm in sustaining the rule of law, and to dispense justice with minimum delays in accordance with constitutional provisions, extant laws, rules of Court and without fear or favour.
Funding, judging from the body language and firm promise of governor Oborevwori, will take centre stage, to ensure that the ordinary citizen, the poor and vulnerable citizens are able to access justice, in a world where oppressive tendencies pervades the very fabrics of society.
It is foreseeable that the governor, who in recent times, has been a victim of frivolous litigations and multifaceted legal battles, will keep his promise, while my Lord, the Chief Judge, is to ensure that as the funds flow periodically into the judiciary, the needful is done, fair and equal treatment to all concerned within the judiciary, while working closely with the State Ministry of Justice.
Governor Oborevwori, also charged the Bar and the Bench, as well as, law enforcement agencies to collaborate effectively to deliver justice and ensure law and order in the state, as we earnestly crave for our world to be a better place to live in.
In the light of the above, it is expected that our Courts shall, in the near future, be digitally activated, Central internet in our Courts, and fully ready to commence visual sessions, online filing of processes, expedite dispensation of justice, remain independent, but must collaborate, where necessary, with the other two arms of government for the holistic attainment of good governance in the state.
The promise to reasonably fund the judiciary by governor Oborevwori, is commendable. The Bar and the Bench must, therefore, continue to engage government with projects and reforms that would sustain and advance the rule of law and timely dispensation of justice in the state.
Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, Esq, is a minister in the Temple of Justice, human right activist and an Officer of the Courts.