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State Chief Judge Must Resign – Edo PDP Insists

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San Francisco, Nov 07, (THEWILL) – The Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State has insisted that the Chief Judge of the state, the Honourable Justice Cromwell Idahosa must resign his appointment following comments with it viewed as “jaundiced political comments.”

The party in a statement reaffirming its position signed by state Chairman, Chief Dan Osi Orbih said: “Ever since the call by Edo State PDP for the resignation of the state Chief Judge, the Honourable Justice Cromwell Idahosa over his jaundiced political comments on the state, we have been inundated by visits and telephone calls from well-meaning citizens of Edo State, concerned Nigerians, and members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), on why we took such a hard but highly justifiable position.

“Mindful of several others who have been itching to reach us on this raging issue of the visit by Justice Idahosa to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, we have decided to make public our position on what has become the proverbial wind that has exposed the rump of the chicken. During the controversial courtesy visit on 28th October, 2010, and in his address the following day at the opening of a new legal year, our respected Justice Idahosa abandoned his hallowed calling as head of the judicial arm of government in Edo State, and converted himself into a PR consultant sweating out to salvage the dwindling political fortunes of the governor.

“The Chief Judge, who led a delegation of judges, gleefully declared: “To our indefatigable Governor, I say Kudos. But the work in (sic) revamping our infrastructure has just begun…A courtesy visit engenders a lot of beneficial effects. Hence, it has been decided that the tradition should be revived and retained. In the past, it was during such courtesy calls that the Governor was informed about the challenges confronting the judiciary and the achievements that have been recorded, such that the Governor does not get any surprises (or embarrassment?) during the opening of the new legal year when the Chief Judge delivers what can be termed the state of the judiciary.”

“Not done, the Chief Judge further told the Governor: “We are all witnesses to what you have done and what you are doing in Edo State, and wish that you carry on with what you are doing…What is more, the Executive under the leadership of the Comrade Governor has continuously expressed its desire and readiness to abide by court orders and govern by the rule of law. So far, I have not had any cause to doubt his stand…”

“The Chief Judge concluded, obviously for effect: “Every once in a long while the judiciary is lucky to have a Governor with uncommon sagacity and wisdom …who genuinely believes in the development of the judiciary.... Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, our Governor, genuinely believes in the development of a strong, virile and responsive judiciary. What will happen when a Pharaoh, who does not know Joseph, comes to power?”

“Fortunately, the NBA (Benin branch) has been quick to condemn this fouling of the integrity of the judiciary, indicating that the sentiments expressed by Chief Judge Idahosa was at best self-serving. According to the NBA chairman, R.O. Isenalumhe, Esq., “While cooperation among the three arms of government should be encouraged, nevertheless the Bar abhors the practice of our judges paying solidarity visits to the Governor. The practice clearly undermines the independence of the judiciary. The Bar demands an immediate cessation of this practice because it is not in the interest of the administration of justice.”

“The NBA chairman couldn’t be more on the spot. If one was still wondering what “beneficial effects” are there to reap from such visits and why such should be “revived” and “retained,” the Chief Judge provided the answers.

“According to the Chief Judge, increasing the frequency of courtesy visits would help save Oshiomhole, whom he described as “a Governor with uncommon sagacity and wisdom,” the embarrassment of not knowing what to expect in his annual state of the judiciary address. Justice Idahosa was however quick to add that Governor Oshiomhole need not suffer the ordeal of such embarrassment since, according to him, Oshiomhole “has been wonderfully kind and receptive to all my requests on behalf of the judiciary which are many and diverse,” including sponsoring the judges to a retreat in Tinapa with all the State High Courts closed at the beginning of a new legal year!

“Now, our revered Justice Cromwell Idahosa’s claims that Governor Oshiomhole is a respecter of the rule of law. Well, that remains to be seen, particularly from the following: Governor Oshiomhole, in clear and fragrant breach of Section 7 of the Nigerian Constitution which provides for democratically elected local government councils as well as the security of their tenure, dissolved all the 18 democratically-elected local councils in Edo State and illegally constituted caretaker committees in their stead in spite of a subsisting court decision on the matter. (Suit No. B/115/0S/07 between ESIEC and others vs the Governor of Edo State & others)The judiciary has unambiguously resolved that 2/3rds of a State House of Assembly is 2/3rds of the total membership of the House, which in Edo State’s case is 16. However, with just 14 legislators, Governor Oshiomhole has been carrying out the illegal dissolution of statutory bodies.

“Oshiomhole in clear contempt of a restraining court order obtained by members of the Edo State Universal Basic Education Commission on the validity of their subsisting tenure in office, inaugurated a new board. (Suit No. B/75/0S/09 between Prof. P. Ejele, Hillary Otsu, Stanley Iduoze, Chief Enohuma vs the Governor & others.He inaugurated an illegal board of the Edo State Oil and Gas Commission in utter contempt of a judgment of a High Court to the effect that the members’ tenure would lapse in July 2011. (Suit No. B/3/OS/2009 between Larry Ogieva & others vs Governor Adams Oshiomhole & others.)

“From the foregoing, it is evident that our respected Justice Cromwell Idahosa may have paid one courtesy visit too many on Governor Oshiomhole that he jettisoned the doctrine of Separation of Powers as espoused by Baron de Montesquie. Chief Judge Idahosa had actually drawn attention to himself when he made part of Governor Oshiomhole’s delegation on a recent congratulatory visit on President Goodluck Jonathan as if he were a staff of Government House, Benin.

“What do we expect from the Chief Judge of a State who openly addresses the governor as a man “with uncommon sagacity and wisdom,” and who raises a poser on what will happen “when a Pharaoh, who does not know Joseph, comes to power?” Since he who alleges, proves, we challenge Justice Cromwell Idahosa to tell the world who in the present case is “Pharaoh” and “Joseph”?

“In all these praise-singing, has the respected Chief Judge Cromwell Idahosa spared a thought on cui bono (who benefits)? If our revered Chief Judge did, it would have been crystal clear to him that he has abandoned his primary duty as Chief Judge of Edo State to become Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s campaign manager.

“Chief Judge Idahosa obviously didn’t spare a thought on the big scene that would be created if the Chief Justice of Nigeria led other justices of the Supreme Court on a courtesy visit to Mr. President!

“The question is, can all those who do not share the political opinion of our respected Chief Judge Idahosa on Adams Oshiomhole get justice?, the PDP asked.

It therefore insisted that “the Honourable Justice Cromwell Idahosa should tow the path of honour and resign!”