By: Douglas Ogbankwa Esq.
*Death never takes the wise man by surprise, he is always ready to go*
The Honourable Justice Morrison Ighodalo’s demise came to many as a surprise, but just as the saying above surmises, he must be sojourning in the bosom of the Lord as he lived his life with so much equanimity and solemnity.
Humble to a fault, the Hon. Justice Morrison Ighodalo never lost his temperament in Court. Measured in character, he chose his words carefully. The Hon Justice Morrison Ighodalo in his stint as a High Court Judge of Edo State was a quintessential example of how a judicial officer should relate with counsel and the Public.
As a minister in the temple of justice, the temple (the Court) was never desecrated. Being a Judge is a sacred duty. It is akin to acting on behalf of God on earth and so a judge must like Caesar’s Wife be above board and not condescend to the arena of conflict, else he would be blinded by the dust of conflict. Whenever a Judge is Sitting, he is actually on trial in the eyes of the Public, what he says or do, will be counted for good or for bad by posterity . The Hon Justice Morrison Ighodalo was a trail blazer in depicting the mien of a Judge.
On the characteristics of a judge the Special Committee of the Minnesota Bar Association on the Appointment of Judges stated thus:
*A candidate should exhibit the following aspects of proper judicial temperament: patience, open-mindedness, courtesy, tact, courage, punctuality, firmness, understanding, compassion, humility and common sense. Those qualities should be demonstrated consistently. For applicants who already hold a judgeship, these qualities should have consistently manifested themselves to all the court’s “stakeholders” interacting with the judge regardless of station in life, profession, type of case, representation by counsel or lack thereof*
In actual fact, the Hon. Justice Morrison Ighodalo displayed the virtues indicated above in My Lord’s life time. This accounted for the grief and mourning that pervaded the Bar upon My Lord’s Demise.
In his tribute to My Lord the Hon Justice Morrison Ighodalo, on a condolence visit to My Lord, the Honourable, the Chief Judge of Edo State, the Hon Justice Esther Amenaghawon Edigin FICMC, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Benin Branch, the Lion Bar, Pius Oiwoh AICMC stated thus:
*My Lord ,the Hon Justice Morrison Ighodalo was renowned as a quintessential Jurist, who had the demeanor worthy of commendation as he would address a young lawyer in the same manner he would address a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a unique characteristic that stood him out in his scandal free and eventful career*
It was Abraham Lincoln the 16th President of the United States that said:
*It is not the years in your life that matters, but the life in your years*
The Hon. Justice Morrison Ighodalo indeed lived a well fulfilled life, that is worthy of emulation. He will be sorely missed!
What will people say about you, when you die? Pause and ponder .
About the Author:
Douglas Ogbankwa Esq., is the immediate Past Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association Benin Branch and the Convener of the Vanguard for the Independence of the Judiciary.