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Why Lagos’ new Chief Judge cancelled valedictory service for predecessor


The Acting Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Olufunmilayo Opeyemi Oke, has cancelled the valedictory court session organized by the former Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade as part of her retirement activities.
She has also shifted the new legal year service earlier scheduled to hold on Monday, September 25, 2017, to Monday, October 9, 2017.
The former Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Atilade, as part of her retirement activities, had earlier planned for the new legal year service to hold on Monday, September 18, 2017. But when many judges and lawyers kicked against the date because that was the same day new Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) would be conferred with their new ranks, she shifted the date to Monday, September 25, 2017.
Again, many stakeholders were said to have kicked against that day too. Because that will be a day after she has statutorily retired from the service and that the new Chief Judge should be the one to preside over  the new legal service year.
Those who argued against the former chief judge presiding over the new legal year service won. So, rather than using it for the new legal year service, it was used to swear- in the new chief judge.
The swearing-in, which was scheduled to hold for 2 pm that Monday, September 25, 2017, did not hold until 5 pm because both the out going and the incoming chief judges were in Abuja.
Tongues were already wagging that the two were summoned to Abuja by National Judicial Commission (NJC), to settle a perceived  animosity  between them.
But a government spokesman, who did not want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said the outgoing chief judge went to Abuja with the incoming chief judge  to formally introduce her to the NJC as her successor.
He said because the new chief judge could not find a flight back to Lagos on time, that was why her swearing in took place at 5 pm.
Meanwhile, immediately the Acting Chief Judge was sworn in on that Monday, September 25 , 2017, one of the decisions she first took was to cancel the valedictory court session earlier scheduled by the former Chief Judge to hold on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at The Foyer, High Court , Igbosere Street, Lagos Island.
Although no official reason was given for the cancellation, a government official told us that an outgoing government official does not organise his or her own valedictory. He or she leaves it for his or her successor in office.

– Tolani Abatti for 

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