Twice rejected by the State House of Assembly for “being a security threat” Justice Akon Bassey Ikpeme was on Monday sworn-in by Cross River Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, at the Executive Council Chambers, Calabar as the Chief Judge of the state.
Aged 62, Justice Ikpeme became a Judge on 16th November 1998 and has served in acting capacity as Chief Judge from 3, December 2019 to 2 March 2020 before her swearing-in on Monday as the second female Chief Judge of the state.
Speaking after her swearing-in, Cross River State Chief Judge, His Lordship Justice Akon Ikpeme said it was with deep appreciation that she thanks God who rules in the affairs of men.
Her words: “It is With deep appreciation in my heart that I want to thank God who rules in the affairs of men, who has made this day possible.
“God uses men to fulfil His purpose. I also thank His Excellency, Prof. Ben Ayade from the depth of my heart for making this day a reality, in my interactions, I have discovered that he is very humane.
“I want to assure His Excellency and Cross Riverians that the Judiciary under my watch will collaborate with other arms of government to move Cross River State forward.
Speaking earlier, Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade said the swearing-in of Justice Akon Ikpeme was the end of the internal concerns of the state judiciary.
Ayade said:” Today brings to an end the internal concerns of Cross Riverians as it concerns the stability of our Judiciary.
“God has chosen a woman and not just a woman of God but a covenant Child. She is here at the right time and she is the right person for the job .we must put behind all the challenges in the process of getting back here.
“God touched my heart and the heart of every other person in the decision-making process, it was God that fought your fight and not any man,” Ayade said.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the swearing ceremony, President, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olumide Apata Esq, said that they were extremely delighted that Justice Ikpeme has finally been sworn in as the Chief Judge of Cross River.
He said:” We are extremely delighted that Justice Akon Ikpeme has finally been sworn in as the Chief Judge of Cross River State, it is a fitting climax to a long process.
“In life, the problem is not that there are challenges but what is, however, important is how effectively we are able to solve them.
“I am glad that between the dramatis personae we have been able to come to this fantastic outcome, an outcome that reflects the internment of our constitution and so at the end of the day all is well that ends well.
“Democracy runs on three arms of government, that tripod and they stand independently but they must also collaborate for democracy to succeed, so now I call on MI Lord to work assiduously.
“She is inheriting a Judiciary with issues, I am praying that Lord will give her the strength and have the wisdom to navigate the stormy waters and I expect her to work effectively with other arms of government but she must uphold the Independence of the Judiciary which is critical.
“We will continue to watch, and we will continue to be the watchdog which is the role of the NBA, we will continue to take a special interest in what is happening in Cross River Judiciary.
“We will continue to stand on the right side of the law, justice and constitutionality and so we are happy, the NBA is satisfied with the outcome, we cannot rest on our laurels, we will make sure we will continue to do what is right,” he said.