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Constitution Is Important Than Public Opinion – CJN Ariwoola




The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola on Wednesday stated that the constitution of the country is above public opinion no matter how weighty.

The CJN said this at the Supreme Court in Abuja while inaugurating another batch of 23 Judges for the Federal High Court of Nigeria.

Ariwoola warned the judges against neglecting the constitutional provisions for public opinion

He urged them to ignore several vitriolic attacks heaped on the judiciary for discharging their duties.

“By virtue of the oath you have just taken, you have, automatically, assumed new status and responsibilities in life. A new blank page in the book of life has just been opened for you; and as it is with public office, especially the Judiciary, you are completely opened to daily public scrutiny.

“The pen is right there in your hand to write whatever you desire to be the content of the new page that is now openly displayed in the public domain.

“Like I always say, even though judicial officers are not spirits or superhuman beings, so much impossible things are yet expected from them by the society.”

He continued, “The bench is neither for the indolent, the greedy nor those with dubious character, who can easily fall for a plate of porridge offered by desperate litigants.

“You must, at all times, rise above temptations and trials that might obstruct or even halt your rise to the pinnacle of your career. We are all humans, no doubt, but you display the humanism in you by doing those extraordinary things that people would ordinarily conclude that you cannot do.

“That is what separates those with integrity and passion for success from those with low pedigree and dysfunctional moral compass.

“My lords, for the umpteenth time, I wish to impress it on you, in very clear terms, the honest fact that the exercise that has just taken place, should not, by any vestige of imagination, be taken for granted or simply tagged as one of those usual ceremonies merely conducted to comply with established procedures and obligations in public office.

“You have just entered into a lifetime covenant with the Almighty God and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Henceforth, whatever you do rightly will be counted, and accordingly, recorded in your favour.

“Similarly, whatever wrongdoing that emanates from any form of indiscretion and abuse of office, will, in like manner, be used to conscientize, chastise and thoroughly sanitize the same conscience that you may have refused to listen to.

“Appointment to the bench is not an appointment to wealth, vainglory, dishonest disposition or ostentatious lifestyle through corrupt acquaintances.

“The searchlight of the National Judicial Council beams brightly on all judicial officers across the country. The NJC should never, either by omission or commission, be mistaken for a toothless Bulldog.

“It can bark fiercely and bite deeply and aggressively, too. Our radar is sophisticated enough to detect every form of corruption and wrongdoing by Judicial officers, and we will not waste a moment in taking the necessary action to fish out the bad eggs.”

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