Gov AbdulRazaq stood by me in trying times – Justice Kawu

• Gov hails ex-CJ for his forthrightness

Immediate past Chief Judge of Kwara State Justice Suleiman Durosinlorun Kawu has said Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq gave him the confidence to pull through a tough moment in the twilight of his career when several petitions were written to force him out of office.

Justice Kawu retired as the Chief Judge of the state on Wednesday amid commendations for his brilliance, forthrightness, people-skills, and other good leadership qualities with which he ran the office.

Speaking at a dinner the Governor held in his honour on Wednesday night, Justice Kawu recalled how the Governor told him to ignore the attacks on him and continue his duties as the CJ.

“Talking about our working relationship, I remember there was an occasion when I requested for some things on behalf of the state judiciary, and Your Excellency said that My Lord, please be sure that these things you are requesting for are captured in the state budget because you didn’t want to run foul of the Procurement Act, and I assured you that I would never bring anything outside the budget. Your action, that day indicated to me that you are a law abiding citizen and leader, ” Justice Kawu said.

“There was also a time when, for some reasons, some issues cropped up and there were so many petitions written against me, both to me, to Your Excellency, the Kwara State House of Assembly and the NJC (National Judicial Council). It got to a time I almost fed up.

“I booked appointment with Your Excellency one day and I told you (Governor) that I was preparing to retire as the Chief Judge of Kwara state, and if you find me wanting on three issues of being a lazy judge, corrupt, or I have used my office for political ends. I said just any of them, and I would be ready to resign.

“And you asked me, My Lord, why did you ask this question? I replied that the petitions were too unbearable for me. I remember that you just opened your drawer and showed me some copies of the petitions, and also said, if I had not raised it, you would not have bothered to ask me. And you said ‘please my Lord, go on with your work’.

“That your action impacted me positively as it gave me the confidence that I was doing the right thing and that I could go on. May God Almighty continue to guide and protect you.”

The ceremony was attended by creme de la creme from the bar and the bench, industry, traditional institutions, and the academia. Top attendees included the Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; Speaker Kwara State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Yakubu Danladi Salihu; retired Chief Judge of the state Justice Durosinlorun Kawu, and his wife Hajiya Rahmat Olanike Kawu; Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the state Senior Ibrahim Suleiman; and Chairman State APC Prince Sunday Fagbemi.

Justice Kawu, who appreciated the Governor for honouring him, said the dinner further attested to the fact that AbdulRazaq holds the judiciary in high esteem.

“With this dinner, Your Excellency has demonstrated that the judicial arm of government is an important arm. You have demonstrated the fact that all the three arms of government in the state must work in unity for the benefit of the people of Kwara state. You have refused to relegate the Kwara State Judiciary to the background,” he added.

He sought the continued support of the Executive and Legislative arms of government in the state for Hon. Justice Mathew Adebara who succeeds him, noting that such will help him consolidate on the existing gains in the judiciary.

AbdulRazaq, in his response, congratulated Justice Kawu on the successful retirement after his meritorious service to the state, affirming that he enjoyed working with him as the state Chief Judge.

“I celebrate with my Lord on this momentous day. This is a day that every public servant would look forward to with joy; it is a day to cherish and to remember forever,” he said.

He said the Lordship’s wealth of experience will continue to be of immense benefit to the state, hoping that the retired CJ will always be available to render the same support to the state and Nigeria as a whole even after retirement.

“I want to place on record that since assuming office as Governor, I have had a cordial working relationship with Hon. Justice Kawu. In the past three and a half years, I have enjoyed his forthrightness, his commitment to duty, and his readiness to serve,” he said.

“Today marks your Lordship’s official disengagement from service. Words alone cannot express my felicitations to you on your remarkable public service duty tour spanning nearly four decades.”

The Governor thereafter handed a car key to the retired CJ, saying the retired judicial officer deserved it.

He said there are plans to do the same for other judges, saying the delay had been due to the paucity of resources.

Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice of the state, Senior Ibrahim Suleiman, for his part, said the retired CJ was a jurist per excellence, who he said had laboured hard to sustain the dignity of the judiciary in the state.

He thanked AbdulRazaq for deeming it fit to honour the Chief Judge and how he has respected the principle of separation of power among the three arms of government in Kwara.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
January 6, 2023

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