Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade on Monday swore in Justice Akon Bassey Ikpeme as the new Chief Judge of the state.
Swearing in Justice Ikpeme as the first female Chief Judge of the state, at the executive council chamber, Governor’s Office, Calabar, Ayade implored her to ensure justice for all who come before her.
Noting that her swearing in was ordained by God, the governor enjoined that “as a child of God and a child that God has destined for this office, I believe that God will touch your soul to ensure that no injustice is done to anybody who comes before you to seek justice. Please dispense justice, be fair and know that God fought your battles.”
Ayade, who said he was thankful that the long drawn saga over the appointment of a new chief judge had finally come to an end, noted that stability in the judiciary will be guaranteed with the emergence of a substantive chief judge.
“God has chosen, by His infinite mercy, for Cross River State, not just any person to be the chief judge, but a woman. A woman with great conscience, a woman of God, a leader in the church, and a covenant child. I believe that she will put behind her all the challenges of getting here and to know that God has prevailed.”
Ayade also spoke of his close relationship with Justice Ikpeme, revealing that “I have had very close relationship with her and it appears to be that she is here at the right time and she is the right person for this job.”
While enjoining support for the new Chief Judge, Ayade said the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government can be sure of a robust relationship.
“In spite of the provision for the seperation of powers, as recognized by law, the intent of the seperation of powers was to consolidate the oneness of this tripod and therefore, the legislature cannot serve without the executive neither can the executive serve without the judiciary. And so there must be harmony among these three arms to create the consistency of focus to pursue the prosperity agenda set forth for the state.”
Continuing, the governor said: As a maritime state bounded by very hostile international communities, the Cameroun and more recently the Amazonian people, it is obvious and clear for us as a state that we have a lot of trans-boundary matters to deal with. We have a lot of internal crisis among the indigenes, the ethnic nationalities that constitute Cross River State. The judiciary therefore, will be bedeviled with so much crisis and tension that we cannot afford a distraction.
“As God touched my heart, so did he touch the heart of everyone saddled with taking the decision in your favour and that had manifested in your swearing in today.”
In her remarks, Justice Ikpeme promised that the judiciary under her watch will collaborate with the other two arms of government to bring about good governance for the people of Cross River State.
“I want to assure His Excellency, that the judiciary under my watch will cooperate with you, and we will also cooperate with the legislature so that we can move cross River State forward.”
She thanked the governor for enabling history to be created with her swearing in as the first female Chief Judge of the state.
“God uses men to fulfill His purpose on earth, Your Excellency, from the depth of my heart I want to tell you thank you, I thank you for making this day a reality.”