- January 27, 2017
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo on Thursday swore in Justice Esohe Ikponwen as the substantive Chief Judge of the state. Speaking during the ceremony at the Government House, Benin, Mr. Obaseki said that every government must recognise the importance of the judiciary. He said that the achievements recorded by the Oshiomole-led administration were due to the harmony which existed between the Judiciary and the Executive. He urged the Chief Judge to bring to bear her wealth of experience in the discharge of her duties as a highly respected judge in the country. The governor said that her choice as the Chief Judge at a time of change in the state was remarkable as she “is known to be fair and strict in the dispensation of judgments’’. He also urged the Chief Judge to sustain and improve the harmonious relationship between judges in the state. Reiterating his administration’s readiness to invest in the judiciary as evident in the over 500 per cent increment in capital expenditure for the sector in the state’s 2017 budget, he assured that his government would uphold the rule of law. In her response, the new Chief Judge promised to build on the legacy of her predecessor and enthrone justice in the state. According to her, I promise to be hard working, ensure speedy dispensation of justice and stand for the truth; It is the truth that sets one free. “There will be no more room for corrupt practices in our judiciary,” she said. Soliciting the cooperation of other judges, she said “we must work for the strengthening of the third arm of the government’’. She also assured of the independence of the judiciary and collaboration with other arms of government for peaceful coexistence in the state. Justice Ikponwen was born Nov. 22, 1954 and went to Anglican Girls Grammar School, Ughelli, in Delta. Mrs. Ikponwen holds an LL.B and a BL in Law in 1978 and 1979, respectively. Until her appointment as the Chief Judge of the state, she has been a judge at the state High Court since 1999. Mrs. Ikponwen takes over from Justice Cromwell Idahosa, who occupied the office from 2010 to Jan. 26, 2017. NAN reports that previous female chief judges of the state were Justices Abigail Oni-Okpaku and Constance Momoh. Dignitaries present at the swearing-in included the chief judge of Delta, members of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Speaker of the Edo House of Assembly, Justin Okonoboh, as well as the presidents of the Customary Courts.