I want to start by congratulating His Lordship, Justice Ishaya Kida Banu for a successful career at the Bench. I equally thank His Lordship for his service to the State and more profoundly to the temple of justice. Your Lordship, we wish you all the best as you retire to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
To our new Acting Chief Judge, Justice Nathan Musa, I congratulate you too for attaining this feat in your noble career. This event is remarkable not only to you but to me in discharging my responsibility as the Executive Governor of Adamawa State. Upon assumption of office two years ago, I made it a point of duty to restore sanity in every facet of governance in this State. In line with the dictates of my oath as the Governor, I am constantly reminded of the need to strengthen institutions by upholding the triple creeds of fairness, competence and seniority as sacred in the appointments of individuals into strategic positions to manage the affairs of our State. It is my fervent belief that no institution requires the deployment of these creeds as much as our Judiciary. I am delighted that you have passed these requirements to serve our people and lead the temple of justice in the State with merit.
Today we are witnesses to your oath-taking. It is a ceremony beyond empty rituals. The administration of the Oath of Allegiance and that of Office in public is not just a matter of formal procedure but a public witnessing of the making of two solemn promises for the performance of which the oath taker will be responsible, on the one hand, to the people and be accountable, on the other, to his Creator.
The first promise is a commitment of loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The duties which the oath imposes sit lightly on a citizen of the nation which the Constitution summoned into being and which it sustains and allegiance to a State and a country freely governed by the rule of law.
The second promise is to "do right to all manner of people according to law without fear or favour, affection or ill-will". In substantially that form, the oath is taken by every judge and indeed, public office holder. It is rich in meaning and import. It precludes partisanship for a cause, however worthy to the eyes of a protagonist that cause may be. It forbids any judge to regard himself or herself as a representative of a section of society. It forbids partiality and most importantly, it commands independence from any influence that might improperly tilt the balance of the scale of justice.
The oath requires justice to be done according to law. The content of the duty thus accepted depends upon the jurisdiction to be exercised. In the trial courts of this country, the rules of law prevail. And so, they must, for it would do no justice to give judgment according to an abstract notion of what is right in the knowledge that the judgment would be upturned on appeal. In appellate courts, the law may authorize a tension between abstract justice and a rule of law to be resolved by an alteration of the rule. In either case, the jurisdiction of the court is fixed by law and judgment must be rendered in accordance with the judicial method. The security which each of us has is the law.
As a layman and a student of history, I have taken the pain to provide this much counsel as a reminder of the weight of oath which we collectively carry on our shoulders as public officers. Yours is even heavier as a judge and the head of the judiciary in the State, you can save the judiciary and build more confidence in the justice system if only you and your colleagues are reminded of the dictates of your oaths in the courts and in every day’s conducts.
As a responsible Government, we are committed to democratic ideals. We have tremendous respect for the sanctity of the doctrine of separation of powers and have, therefore, conferred unfettered independence and autonomy to both the Judiciary and the Legislature. We are conscious of the fact that our aspirations to deliver purposeful leadership to our people cannot be realized without allowing all the organs of government to function independently. The independence of the judiciary and even the legislature will amount to nullity if not backed by financial autonomy. This we have granted without any reservation.
Working with the legislature, I have assented to the Adamawa State Violence Against Persons (Prohibition)(VAPP) Bill 2021, which is now a Law, on the 30th August, 2021. This is done to stop the menace of rape and sexual offences in the State. I am therefore mandating the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to liaise with you as a matter of urgency to designate one judge of the High Court sitting in Yola to concentrate on cases relating to rape and other sexual offenses.
Your Lordship, with this oath I welcome you to the reform team of Adamawa State. I look forward to working with you to serve the good people of this State and the country at large. I look forward to the kind of reforms we all desire in our courtrooms; fair court process and speedy dispensation of justice. I look forward to an improved relationship among your colleagues in the bench and between those in the bench and the ones at the bar in the temple of justice. I look forward to innovations that will make our courts smarter and high-tech to meet up with contemporary adjudication procedure. I look forward to a judicial system that engender public confidence and confer justice to citizens as at when due. I honestly, look forward for a partnership that can deliver the state from violence and criminality thereby entrenching peace, stability and prosperity in our society and for our people.
To friends and the family of his Lordship, especially the wife and the children, more than ever before, it is now that his Lordship needs our fervent prayers.
Once again, Congratulations your Lordship.
Thank you and God bless.