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.
Edo State Judiciary has organized her first ever settlement week tagged “Settlement Week: An Effective Tool in Justice Delivery.”
Declaring the week-long event open, the Chief Judge, Edo State, Hon. Justice Esther Edigin, lauded the innovation of Settlement week which according to her is indeed an effective tool in Justice Delivery as it is a mechanism for achieving the Judiciary’s drive of bringing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to the door steps of all Citizens of Edo State. Reiterating that the Settlement Week is a tried and tested means by which a huge bulk of cases could be speedily resolved to clear up the backlog of cases in the court dockets, Hon. Justice Edigin maintained that the event marks the beginning of even greater things to come for Edo State Judiciary as the Settlement Week is not a one-off event, but a recurring one which would be organized from time to time during each legal year.
In his remarks, Chairman, Settlement Week Committee, Hon. Justice E. O. Ahamioje said ADR is now ubiquitously acknowledged alternative to litigation in several countries all over the world, and is gradually gaining a strong foot in Nigeria.
He further made known that the primary goal of a settlement week is to commit to a set period of time, usually a week or more, to apply the ADR process to ongoing litigation regardless of the stage of the case.
Hon. Justice Ahamioje also said this first ever settlement week is sponsored by the Edo State Judiciary. This means that, once placed on the track for settlement week, the entire process of a case is cost free, serving as an incentive to parties to achieve a resolution of their disputes.
Earlier, while welcoming all to the maiden edition of the Edo State Settlement Week, organized by the Edo State Judiciary through the Multi-Door Court House, the Director, Edo State Multi-Door Court House, Mrs. Taiye Omoruyi made known that the Multi-Door Court House creates an avenue to combat the challenges associated with the Justice delivery system minimizing delays through the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in order to achieve more amenable outcome to parties.
Hence, the week has been set aside by the Honourable Chief Judge of Edo State for courts to clear the backlog of cases through referrals to the Multi-Door Court House for possible resolution through the ADR Processes.
According to the Multi-Door Court House Director, cases expected to come up at the settlement week includes: Land Matters, Matrimonial cases, Accident Claims, Banking, Energy, Contracts, Landlord & Tenancy. Others are Insurance, Employment and Labour related disputes, Recovery of debts, sports and so many others.
Mrs. Omoruyi further said that Settlement Week essentially helps to ensure that matters which remain in the court’s docket receives more attention. It also reduces the chance that people would take the law into their own hands out of frustration that may occur due to a prolonged litigation process.
Highlights of the event was the unveiling of the Settlement Week Practice Direction by the State’s Chief Judge.
Nwine, Nekpen Maureen
Senior Information Officer
Edo State Judiciary
This is to bring to the attention of Members of the Bar and Bench, Litigants, critical Stake holders in the Justice Sector and the General Public, that from 15th to 19th March, 2021, pursuant to Order 26 Rule 9 of the Edo State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2018, the Edo State Judiciary is organizing its first ever, “SETTLEMENT WEEK,” which is a week set aside to employ Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) options in the resolution of cases considered resolvable in Courts’ dockets.
1. OPENING CEREMONY
DATE: 15TH March, 2021
VENUE: Imaguero College Hall, Sapele road, Benin City
TIME: 10.00am prompt.
2. SETTLEMENT SESSIONS
Please Note that all subsequent Settlement Sessions throughout the week are scheduled to hold at various designated centres, being the New High Court Complex, Edo State Multi-door Court House and the NBA House, Benin City starting from 9.00am each day. All NCDC Covid- 19 protocols must be strictly observed, please.
BENSON OSAWARU ESQ.
Acting Chief Registrar
High Court of Justice, Benin City