…As Eniong Abatim Community Rejoices, Tasks New Chief Judge
By Our Reporter
Former Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Cross River state, Archbishop Archibong Archibong, has commended Governor Ben Ayade and the House of Assembly for the confirmation of Justice Akon Ikpeme as the substantive Chief Judge of the state.
The confirmation of Justice Ikpeme on Thursday came a year after the House rejected her for purportedly being a security threat to the State by reasons of her ethnic background. Ikpeme’s father is from Akwa Ibom while her mother is a Cross River’s woman. The new Chief Judge is also married to a Cross Riverians and has spent her whole life in the state.
In a press statement made available to our reporter, Friday, Archbishop Archibong said “I hereby commend the Governor of Cross River state, Senator Prof Ben Ayade, for nominating Hon Justice Akon Ikpeme for the third consecutive times to be confirmed by the House of Assembly as a substantive Chief Judge of the State and let me also thank the House for finally seeing reasons why Ikpeme should be given her rights.
“I recall that I had, last year, appealed to our Governor and the State House of Assembly to reconsider the Justice Akon Ikpeme’s matter in the interest of all Cross Riverians. I am grateful that they have heeded that call. For us, accepting Justice Ikpeme as Chief Judge is one of the best decisions of our Governor and the House members.
“I am convinced that this development will go a long way in enhancing the smooth running of the judicial arm of government as the last hope of the common man for democracy thrives only when all arms of government function optimally and independently.
“I urged both the Executive and the Legislative arms to give Justice Ikpeme all the support she would need to discharge her duties creditably. Judicial officers in the state should also corporate with her wholeheartedly to help move the Judiciary forward for the good of an ordinary Cross Riverian,” the Archibishop, who is the founder of the Calabar-based Intercessors Bible Mission (IBM), stated.
The Church leader also congratulated the new Chief Judge for emerging victorious after the storm and noted that her emergence at this point in time was according to divine timing.
He said, “The Bible says all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose. In the book of Ecclesiastes, the scripture also tells us that to everything under the heaven, there is a season and a time. I believe that the time for Justice Ikpeme to take her rightful position has come. Let me also commend her for her patience.
“I pray God to continually bless and take our dear State to an enviable height socio-economically, and may He cause us to know that except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it.”
Similarly, Elder (Dr) David Okon, Chairman of the Eniong Abatim community, where Justice Ikpeme hails from through marriage, described her confirmation as demonstration of the power of democracy and rule of law, saying the community and indeed all Cross Riverians were happy that at last the right thing has been done.
In a telephone chat with our reporter, Elder Okon, said “Her confirmation is a good product of fine democracy and rule of law. When the right person, who knows his/her onions, is put on the saddle of any institution, definitely, the best will come out of that person. To Cross River state Judiciary, it is a very good New Year.”
He called on Justice Ikpeme to forgive her traducers and carry everybody along, adding “I know the stuff Hon Justice Akon Ikpeme is made off, she is not vindictive and I will not expect her to be. She really has to carry every person along, even those who decided to accept to act as Chief Judge during her travail.
“She should forgive all and put the past behind her. She should look up to God and continue doing good. Let the word ‘justice’ which her official title, be her watchword and let it guide her action while in office. She should respect the office of Justice which is now the Head in Cross River state.”