The place of judiciary as the third and very important arm of government has become indisputable. Globally, a vibrant judiciary is recognised as the last hope of the common man. Without a well-organised and an independent judiciary, a nation cannot be said to be practising a democratic government whose major preoccupation is to promote and make justice and equity its hallmark.
As a cornerstone of every democratic government, judiciary serves as the solid foundation on which the structure of civil liberty is built. It is in the light of this that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State recently swore in four judges of the State High Court to improve the quality of justice delivery in the state.
The governor, while swearing in the four judges, urged them to justify the confidence reposed in them by always living above board and suspicion.
The statutory number of judicial officers in Ondo State, by virtue of Section 3 of the High Court Law, Cap 62, Laws of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006, is 24. There were 16 judges in the state at the High Court level until the four judges were sworn in. The swearing-in of the latest judicial officers made the total number of judges in the state to be 20, four shy of the statutory provision.
In spite of the shortfall in the number of judges statutorily required in Ondo State, the recent step taken by Governor Akeredolu to swear in four judges has been described as unique in the life of his administration.
The governor, while decrying the recent challenges thrown up by the incursion of strange elements into the judiciary, stressed that a judge must be a shining light to the society because his conduct and behaviour reflect the public image of the judiciary.
Based on the impeccable character of the new judicial officers, the people of Ondo State will, no doubt, enjoy quality justice delivery system.
And consequently, a more peaceful and orderly Ondo State is possible and achievable where the fundamental rights of all the groups and people within the state, irrespective of their political and religious beliefs, would be guaranteed.