From this day, March 7, 2017, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen, Chief Justice of Nigeria, becomes the guardian and protector of the highest duties that society owes its people – fairness, justice and truth.
The responsibility is an awesome one. It is the closest that man serves, as the Almighty God, having power over live, livelihoods and futures, having power to give and indeed take away powers and the authority to supervise all men and women to whom our law and constitution has given the position of judgeship.
Since we do not force men and women to be judges, they voluntarily take on the position of high priests in the temple of justice, they will of course be held to a much higher moral and ethical standard than most of us.
They must not only be seen to be just, they must be just indeed.
The mere perception of judicial malfeasance poisons the waters of justice, let alone the reality of it, while delays in the administration of justice often defeat the ends of justice.
My Lord, you assumed this position at a crucial time in the history of our nation. It is a time when all arms of government have suffered loss of confidence from the people of this nation and it is so also with our judiciary.
It is a time, my Lord and justices of our courts, are called upon to resuscitate that confidence that the people of this nation want to have in the institutions of government and indeed in the judiciary.
I pray that your tenure will revive and sustain that confidence.
Yesterday, I had a discussion with the President, & Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari. And not only did he extend his personal warm wishes and congratulations, he asked that I personally convey that to you and I do so now. I congratulate you on behalf of the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
And I congratulate all members of your family as well and the entire judiciary.
I believe that the choice that the people of this nation have made is a right choice indeed and that you will indeed live up to all of the expectations of this high office.
I pray that the Almighty God will guide and direct you to deliver on all of the promises and expectations of the people of this nation.
Thank you very much. God bless you.
Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President
Office of the Vice President
March 7, 2017