Hon. Justice Centus C. Nweze of the Supreme Court of Nigeria has eulogized the retiring Chief Judge of Enugu State, Hon. Justice Ngozi Priscilla Emehelu, for the outstanding achievements she recorded in transforming the State Judiciary.
Hon. Justice Nweze, who spoke at a gala night organized by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, in honour of the outgoing Chief Judge, yesterday, disclosed that Hon. Justice Emehelu, whose retirement takes effect midnight of Tuesday, September 7, 2021, was able to record those remarkable feats in the State Judiciary because of the kind of governor she served under his leadership. He stressed that she was a lucky Chief Judge.
“My Lordship (Chief Judge), The Lord has blessed you and part of this luck is serving under the leadership of His Excellency (Ugwuanyi). I am not saying this because His Excellency is here; those of you who were here 20 years ago know what we went through; those who were here 15 years ago know what we went through.
“So today, you served as Chief Judge under His Excellency, the Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, peacefully and successfully. His Excellency (Ugwuanyi) the good Lord will bless you; the God of the lawyers will always bless you. We pray that the new Chief Judge of Enugu State will continue with this good work”, Hon. Justice Nweze said.
In his commendation address, Gov. Ugwuanyi described Hon. Justice Emehelu as an erudite lawyer and esteemed Judicial Officer, who bestrode the State Justice Sector as Attorney-General before her well-deserved appointment as a Judge and subsequent appointment as Hon. Chief Judge of the state, “the latter being the jewel in her crown of successes in her career”.
The governor who acknowledged with delight, the dedication and diligence with which Hon. Justice Emehelu discharged her duties, pointed out that “the Enugu State Judiciary and indeed the entire state are happily reaping the fruits of the transformative reforms and innovations that she engendered as the Hon. Chief Judge of the State”.
Pouring further encomiums on her, Gov. Ugwuanyi said: “Tonight, as we unite in banquet to celebrate the retirement of this outstanding standard-bearer of the Enugu State Judiciary, we laud her era of focused and impactful leadership.
“Your Lordship, Hon. Justice Ngozi Priscilla Emehelu, it is indeed a time to bow out of over two decades of a brilliant and exciting career; a time to give thanks to Almighty God for his wonderful blessings; a time to be celebrated by colleagues, associates, family, friends and the State; a time to get some rest; a time to introspect; and a time to chart a new course in life.
“In this time, Your Lordship, I assure you of our friendship and best wishes for great success in all your future endeavours as well as our prayers for unceasing testimonies of God’s grace in your life. Congratulations!”.
In her response, Hon. Justice Emehelu, thanked God for her successful career in spite of the challenges encountered in the profession prior to the administration of Gov. Ugwuanyi.
According to her, “My Lord, Hon. Justice C.C. Nweze reminded us what it was years back when we did not have tools with which to work but His Excellency, the Governor of Enugu State (Ugwuanyi) did marvelously well to ensure that we did not lack these necessary tools.
“Let me put it on record that, under Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration, we witnessed an unprecedented infrastructural development in the Judiciary of Enugu State across all the Judicial Divisions and Magisterial Districts. Not only infrastructural development, but also human development and other things which we needed”.
The retiring Chief Judge said that State Judiciary was blessed to have Gov. Ugwuanyi, who she described as “a man who has the fear of God in him and who has the milk of human kindness flowing in him”, in the saddle of Government of Enugu State.
Her words: “How did I get here if not for somebody (Ugwuanyi) who has justice, equity and good conscience in him. Your Excellency, I am indebted to you. I have said it several times because if not that you stood your ground and that you wanted justice to prevail, I couldn’t have been there”.
Hon. Justice Emehelu equally expressed gratitude to her brothers and sisters in the State Judiciary for their support, cooperation and cordial working relationship as one family, stressing that “whatever interventions we made in the Judiciary in Enugu State were collective work”.
She went further to appreciate her family members for their love and encouragement, and enjoined members of the State Judiciary to give the incoming Chief Judge “more support that you have ever given me whilst I was Chief Judge”.
The colourful event was graced by the Deputy Governor, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo; two other Justices of the Supreme Court, Hon. Justice Ejembi Eko and Hon. Justice Abdul Aboki; Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, represented by Justice Nayai Aganaba; Deputy Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Uche Ugwu; President, Customary Court of Appeal, Enugu State, Hon. Justice George Nnamani; State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Augustine Nnamani; members of the State House of Assembly; members of the State Executive Council (EXCO); Honourable Judges of Enugu State Judiciary and other States; Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Enugu State Chapter , Barr. Jude Ezegwu; and th Chairman, Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), Chief Ikeje Asogwa, among others.