Lagos State Judiciary on Thursday held a special Valedictory Court Session for former Chief Judge Justice Opeyemi Oke.
The event, which attracted stakeholders in the judiciary, was held at The Foyer, Lagos High Court, Igbosere.
It was attended by judges, magistrates and legal practitioners, including former Attorney General, Adeniji Kazeem, the first lady silk, Chief Folake Solanke (SAN) and first female Life Bencher Mrs Hairat Balogun.
The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) was represented by Mr Tunji Ayanlaja (SAN).
They all eulogised the former chief judge as “a jurist of positive change and first class reformer of administration of criminal justice”.
The acting Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, described Justice Oke as an advocate of a positive change in the administration of justice.
Justice Alogba, who read the citation of his predecessor, described her as an achiever and a jurist with distinctive leadership qualities, emphasising that Justice Oke cherished her oath of office and integrity.
Ayanlaja said those who appeared before Justice Oke would attest to the fact that “she was a judge per excellence”.
He described the former chief judge as one who had a hard stance for integrity.
“Justice Oke took to the bench as an analogue judge but retired as a digital judge; came in as a Christian but retired as a redeemed Christian; came in as a judge but left as a chief judge; came in as a mother but left as a grandmother,” he stated.
Mrs Balogun said as soon as she was appointed Chief Judge, Justice Oke carried out wide-ranging reforms in the state judiciary more than her predecessors and for which she would continue to be remembered for.
She listed some of the reforms initiated by Justice Oke and urged the acting chief judge and staff of the state judiciary to be courageous in sustaining her legacies.
Chief Solanke remarked that despite her short tenure, which was less than two years, Justice Oke recorded “very impressive performance,” adding that was why she made it a point of duty to come to Lagos to honour her yesterday at the special court session.
She listed the achievements of the former Chief Judge and urged staff of the state judiciary to emulate her, particularly her anti-corruption fight.
Chairman of Ikorodu Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Bayo Akinlade, who spoke on behalf of the five branches of NBA in Lagos State, said Justice Oke was “bold and courageous”, particularly on how she confronted corruption in the judiciary frontally.
Justice Oke, in her response, thanked the judges, magistrates and staff of the judiciary for their love and support for all the reforms initiated and making her tenure a success.
“I want to appeal to you to continue in your support of our policies which are all geared towards delivering speedy and efficient justice to the good people of Lagos State, who we serve,” she said.