Today, the swearing in of a new and substantive Chief Judge, Justice Olufunmilayo Opeyemi Oke, is an affirmation of our belief in the rule of law and the importance of the judiciary to any democratic system.
It is important to note that the judiciary in Lagos State is the only democratic arm of government that has experienced a seamless transition in its leadership right from Justice Idowu Conrad-Taylor, the first Chief Judge of Lagos State in 1967, to the Honourable Justice Olufunmilayo Opeyemi Oke, the 16th Chief Judge of the State. These 50 years of seamless transition qualifies the judiciary as one of the most resilient institutions in the State and I congratulate all of you; the past and present Chief Judges of the State for maintaining the integrity of this institution.
I congratulate Your Lordship on your confirmation which is a positive affirmation of your competence, experience and character to preside over the sacred temple of justice in Lagos State. I have absolute confidence in your intellectual capacity to steer the ship of the State Judiciary on a smooth sail.
By the way, we are both recipients of the Fulbright Scholarship of the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship from the United States of America.
Your Lordship, this appointment places a huge responsibility on your shoulders to sustain and improve on the enviable reputation which the Lagos State Judiciary has built for itself over the years.
One area of our Judicial System which I consider as work in progress is the speed of justice delivery in the State.Â We have made significant progress in this regard with the various reforms that have been initiated and implemented however I believe strongly that we can do more by stepping up our efforts so that the wheel of justice can roll faster without necessarily compromising the fundamental principle of fair hearing and the rule of law.
I do understand that our judges are currently facing enormous work load due to the fact that the Lagos judiciary is the busiest in the country and this will naturally affect the turnover of cases in our courts. It is for this reason that I once again recommit our administrationâ€™s determination to seek a significant increase in the number of judges that we have on the Lagos bench.
There is no gainsaying that Lagos is the commercial nerve centre of the country and it deserves a modern state-of-the-art first class Commercial Courthouse to speedily address commercial disputes in the State. We plan to establish a designated Commercial Courthouse with the objective of ensuring speedy consideration of commercial matters. It is hoped that this courthouse will accommodate all commercial related organs of the judiciary in order to drive commerce and improve the ease of doing business.
It is also imperative that Your Lordship must take a quick look at our probate registry with a view to using technology to drive its efficiency.
Our administration will continue to cooperate with the judiciary in developing and implementing appropriate strategies to ensure justice is done speedily. I want to assure you of our commitment to do whatever is required of us to ensure that the on-going reform in the Judicial sector achieves the desired effect.Â
I once again congratulate our new Chief Judge and I wish you a very successful tenure in office.
Itesiwaju lpinle Eko, lo je wa logun!