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By Kelvin Ebiri and Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
30 May 2015   |   5:22 am
HISTORY was made yesterday as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike became the first governor to be administered the oath of office by the Chief Judge of another State.
Wike 30-5-15 Copy

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (CON) being congratulated by the Bayelsa State Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri after his inauguration yesterday at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt 

HISTORY was made yesterday as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike became the first governor to be administered the oath of office by the Chief Judge of another State.

And basking in the euphoria of surviving all political and judicial intrigues to thwart his swearing-in, the governor has appointed Chief Daisy Okocha as acting Chief Judge of Rivers State and Justice Christy Gabriel-Nwankwo as the acting President of the State Customary Court of Appeal.

The announcement of the presence of the Bayelsa State Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt had triggered joyous outburst of thousands that gathered to witness the historical swearing-in of Wike yesterday.

Before she commenced her judicial responsibility, Justice Abiri announced that contrary to widespread report, she never received any directive or order from the former Attorney General of the Federation to swear-in Wike.

According to her, her presence to administer the oath-of-office on the governor was merely a judicial exercise authorised by the Chief Justice of the Federation in accordance with Section 185(2) of the 1999 constitution. She then proceeded to administer oath of allegiance and oath of office first on the new deputy governor, Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo and then later on Governor Wike.

And minutes after he was sworn-in, Wike, in keeping to his vow to reopen the courts, which have been under lock and keys for a year, announced Justice Okocha as acting Chief Judge of the State.

Her Lordship will be sworn-in on Monday June 1, 2015, after which she will be required to immediately terminate the dark moments of the state’s ignoble judicial history by reopening the courts for business.

In the same vein, the governor, relying on section 281 (4) of the Constitution appointed Justice Christy Gabriel-Nwankwo, as the Acting President of the Rivers State Customary Court of Appeal following the indefinite suspension by the National Judicial Council (NJC) of the holder of that office.

In furtherance of his pledge to restore the independence of the State judiciary and enhance justice delivery, the governor said his government would guarantee full financial autonomy to the judiciary and promised to prioritize the welfare of judicial officers.

Wike said former Governor Rotimi Amaechi ruled over the State with the mindset of a dictator and promoted impunity to levels unimaginable.

“For as long as he presided, all his actions and inactions were prodded by obsessive lust for power actuated by a self-indulgent messianic gusto.

He told the teeming crowd that though Rivers State is at cross road, it has been rescued and relieved of the most decadent case of maladministration in her history from Amaechi’s administration that mindlessly borrowed and frittered public resources on wasteful projects, sold state valuable assets at underpriced rates to fronts and cronies and left the State financially crippled with a heavy debt burden.

He promised that his government shall develop and implement an economic development blueprint that leverages on the state strengths to make Rivers State the industrial hub of Nigeria in oil and gas, agriculture, maritime and tourism businesses.