SPEECH BY GOVERNOR SAMUEL ORTOM AT THE VALEDICTORY COURT SESSION IN HONOUR OF HON. JUSTICE IORHEMEN HWANDE, CHIEF JUDGE OF BENUE STATE, AT THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, MAKURDI ON FRIDAY, 15TH DECEMBER, 2017
It is with gratitude to God that I seize this opportunity and privilege to welcome you all to this special valedictory court session.
2. As you are all aware, this great occasion has been organized to celebrate the exit of a great, humble, God fearing and erudite jurist, Honorable Justice Iorhemen Hwande, after an outstanding career in the Benue State judiciary.
3. Mr. Justice Hwande rose through the ranks with an impeccable service record to become Chief Judge of Benue State, a position in which he served the state for 11 years.
4. As Chief Judge he sustained the reputation of the Benue State judiciary as one of best in the country through sacrificial, honest and exemplary leadership which impacted positively down the line.
5. On a personal note, I am happy to state that we share a common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and mutual respect for each other over the years. As Governor, this facilitated a cordial working relationship between the Executive and Judicial Arms of Government.
6. May I use this opportunity to appreciate him for his immense contributions to the development of the state through his strict adherence to the rule of law which also underscores one of the cardinal principles of our administration. We are also indebted to the entire judges and staff of the Benue State judiciary for braving all the odds to earn our respect and that of the entire country. May I reiterate our commitment to sustain our belief in the doctrine of the separation of powers and pledge not to interfere with the work of the judicial and legislative arms of government as we shall do all within our available resources to facilitate and enhance the work of the two.
7. As Mr. Justice Hwande retires from public service, I wish, on behalf of the people and Government of Benue State to congratulate him for leaving behind a worthy legacy of service in his chosen career where he stood out as an unbiased jurist.
8. It is on record that throughout his period as the Chief Judge of the State, he created a conducive environment for the Bench and the Bar to work harmoniously to serve the cause of justice. Under him, our people had faith in the Judiciary and we did not witness any major skirmish between key players in the temple of Justice.
9. It is to his credit that the Judiciary has grown from strength to strength with many Judges from the State gaining prominence and elevations to higher positions on the bench.
10. I am convinced that all the virtues of total commitment to service, hard work and service to humanity which he exhibited while in active service have impacted positively on the judiciary. We are convinced that he is leaving a Judicial system that will continue to improve itself for the good of the common man. Having given the best part of his life to serve God and the people through his career, Honorable Justice Iorhemen Hwande is retiring to a peaceful life. This is no mean achievement.
11. My lords, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the import of this valedictory court session is to give honour to whom honour is due. It is to encourage those coming behind him to emulate the footsteps of the gentlemen on whose behalf we are gathered here today. Above all, it is to remind those coming behind him that there is something greater than gold and silver – that is a good name.
12. It is worthy of note that while we are celebrating Justice Hwande today some of his colleagues in other States and at the Federal Judiciary are being tried for various allegations of financial impropriety. Others have already been dismissed from service and they have to live with all the pains and reality of their fate.
13. I pray God to continue to be with you, Justice Hwande, and may He continue to strengthen you and guide your every step in retirement.
14. Once again, I congratulate you on your retirement. To those you are leaving behind, I wish to pledge my commitment to continue to support and work in harmony with them without interfering in their activities.
15. Thank you all and may God continue to bless us and Benue State.
16. In God we Trust.