Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that if the Executive and Legislative branches of the Nigerian Government carried out their official duties in line with the provision of the constitution, the country would make huge progress.
During a state banquet organized on Friday night in honour of Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, the outgoing President of the country’s Court of Appeal, at the Brick House, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike restated that the Judiciary remains the most outstanding arm of Government in the country.
According to the governor: “This country is having challenges because of the Executive and Legislative Arms of Government. If the Executive and Legislative Arms do what is right, the country would move forward.
“The National Assembly because of politics, fails to do what is right. When the Executive and Legislative Arms of Government commit errors, they pass the buck to the Judiciary.”
He added that even when the 8th National Assembly passed the Electoral Act, that recognised the Card Reader, the President refused to give his assent.
He noted that the forthcoming constitutional amendment kickstarted by the National Assembly will amount to nothing just like the previous exercises.
“Every time, there is constitutional amendment, but at the end nothing comes out of it. Even the one just started will not yield anything different”, he said.
Governor Wike declared that the Judiciary is the least corrupt of the three coequal branches of government and that the Judiciary has remained consistent in the interpretation of law.
Governor Wike also said Nigeria’s democracy is still thriving because of the positive roles and influence of the Judiciary.
“Without the Judiciary, there will be no democracy in this country. This country’s democracy is being sustained by the Judiciary “, Wike declared.
The retiring President of the Court of Appeal said that she is in Rivers State as part of her valedictory process. She said that the valedictory process is a tradition of the Court of Appeal.
She informed that she was in Asaba, Awka, Enugu, where she held her first valedictory session and will be visiting Kano, Gombe, Yola and Ilorin as part of the retirement process, while it will end in Abuja.
She commended the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike for rebuilding the Court of Appeal Port Harcourt complex, upgrading the Judges Quarters of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt and investing in the development of Judges Quarters for Rivers State Judiciary.
She said: “We have been given a conducive atmosphere where we carry out our work at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division.
“With my service, I can be comfortable anywhere in Nigeria.”
Justice Bulkachuwa emphasised that since she took her oath of office as a judicial officer in 1980, she has worked hard to be impartial at all times.
“Since I was a Magistrate, when I took my oath of office to be impartial, I have worked to be impartial. In the Court of Appeal, I try to be as impartial as I can be.
“In the days to come, we will have sufficient Judges to man the two Courts in Port Harcourt”, she said.
Presenting gifts to the retiring President of Court of Appeal and other female Justices of the Court of Appeal, the Wife of the Rivers State Governor, Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike said after witnessing the Validictory Session for the President of Court of Appeal, her respect for Justice Bulkachuwa deepened.
She said Justice Bulkachuwa through the acquisition of education has contributed to the development of her state and the entire country.
She said that the retiring President of the Court of Appeal should continue to serve Nigeria as she said in her Validictory Speech.
Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, AAB Gumel described the Port Harcourt Division as one of the best in the country.
Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo in a welcome address lauded Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for his commitment to the promotion of access to Justice.
He said that right from his first day in office, Governor Wike opened the courts closed by the immediate past Administration in the state.
In a toast to the Judiciary, the Head of Service, Rivers State, Mr Rufus Godwins said that the Judiciary is the best arm of Government in terms of performance.
Justice M.M. Garba, Presiding Judge of Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, lauded the Rivers State Governor for investing in the reconstruction of the Court of Appeal building in Port Harcourt and the construction of Judges Quarters for Judges of Rivers State High Court.
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Austin Opara in a toast to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, prayed for the country to attain development.
The State Banquet in honour of the retiring President of the Court of Appeal witnessed the rich display of the culture and dances of Rivers State and Nigeria. Comedians also thrilled the audience.