By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Justice Simeon Amadi has been confirmed as the next Chief Judge of Rivers State.
Amadi was confirmed after he was he was screened by members of the Rivers House of Assembly on Tuesday.
Our Correspondent reports that Justice Simeon Amadi who appeared before the lawmakers at the House of Assembly’s chambers was asked to take a bow and go after giving a brief introduction of himself.
This was after House Leader, Martin Amaehule, said members had unanimously agreed that Justice Simeon Chibuzor Amadi should be confirmed based on his contribution to the state’s Judiciary.
The sitting was presided over by the Speaker of the House, Ikunyi Iwagi Ibani.
The nomination of Justice Amadi as successor to Justice Adanma Iyayi Laminkara who is about to proceed on retirement as the Chief Judge of Rivers had sparked controversies with some lawyers and stakeholders contending that the most senior judge in the state’s judiciary was sidestepped.
The stakeholders had accused Governor Nyesom Wike of pandering to ethnic sentiment in making the nomination since the Amadi was of Ikwere ethnic stock of Rivers like him.
But speaking yesterday, Wike accused those making the allegation of trying to blackmail him.
He said he has already submitted the letter of recommending Justice Simeon Chibuzor Amadi for appointment as the next Chief Judge of the State from the National Judicial Commission to the House of Assembly.
The Governor spoke when he received a delegation of Okpo Club of Nigeria who were on courtesy visit to Government‘s House, Port Harcourt.
He added that the process of appointment of the Chief Judge is based on constitutionality and not sentiment.
“I have conveyed the NJC’s recommendation to the House of Assembly. I am not the one who recommended, mine is to act on the recommendation of NJC. I never wrote letter to NJC, I am not a member of Judicial Service Commission (JSC).”
Governor Wike said the names of two most senior judges of the State High Court were submitted by the State Judicial Service Commission to the NJC early in order to avoid the situation of having a Chief Judge in acting capacity.
“Nobody can intimidate me with any kind of sentiment. I will do what is right. We knew the crisis that happened here in this State and people do not want to distinguish it. What was the crisis? State Judicial Service Commission, JSC, submitted Daisy Okocha’s name and Agumagu’s name. Of course, Daisy Okocha was the most senior. But even at that, Agumagu was the President of Customary Court of Appeal. NJC in their wisdom said no, we are going to recommend the most senior judge and recommended Daisy,” Wike said.