The Nation (Nigeria)
Jurists honour Candide-johnson at valedictory court session
The Lagos State Judiciary has held a Valedictory Court Session for Justice Babajide Candide-johnson who retired Sunday, June 27, having attained the mandatory 65 years of age, reports ADEBISI ONANUGA
ENCOMIUMS poured like a torrent of rain last Friday for a distinguished judge of Lagos State Judicary, Justice Babajide Candide-johnson who bowed out of the bench last Friday.
Mr Candide-johnson retired from the Lagos Judiciary on June 27, 2021 his birthday - having attained the mandatory retirement age of 65years.
The event, held at the premises of the high court of Lagos State, attracted judges, magistrates, lawyers and other stakeholders in the justice sector. Among the dignitaries that graced the ceremony were a former Jurist of the Supreme Court, Justice Bode Rhodesvivour and the Oyo State Attorneygeneral and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Oyelowo Oyewo.
Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba said Justice Candidejohnson served the Lagos Judiciary for 20 years “and served meritoriously.”
Alogba described Candide-johnson as a brilliant, hard working, meticulous and fearless judge, an intellectual who delivered judgments without fear or favour.
Candide-johnson was Head of the Family Court when he retired.
Justice Alogba also used the platform to clear ambiguity surrounding judges’ vacation. He said the state’s judges will not go on long vacation this year. Rather they would be allowed to go on four weeks’ vacation.
By procedural rules of high court, the annual long vacation of judges of Lagos Judiciary lasts about eight weeks and is usually fixed for between July and September.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, had in a letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad and the National Judicial Council (NJC), suggested a cancellation of long vacation for judges nationwide to enable courts clear the backlog of cases in their dockets which piled up over time.
Ayorinde stated that the suspension was necessary in the interest of those who are languishing in detention and awaiting trial.
He also stated that many cases have suffered inordinate delay due to last year’s #ENDSARS protests, the COVID -19 pandemic and the recently suspended strike embarked upon by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria
Justice Alogba argued that even during the pandemic, most magistrates courts in the state were sitting while judges were delivering judgements virtually.
He also noted that during the #ENDSARS protest a number of the judges watched their properties being burnt by protesters at the Lagos High Court, Igbosere.
“The trauma is still there with us. You can’t imagine how it would affect the psyche. Our Judges were under a lot of trauma.
“We will not take a full vacation, but we will go for four weeks. The reason for going on vacation is not from arrogant position but from informed position.
“We will go on a brief vacation and come back refreshed to take on the task ahead”, he said, noting that it was only on Thursday that the Lagos State Government handed over the new Osborne
Road, Ikoyi Court House to the state judiciary.
Lagos State Attorney-general and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, said he had known Justice Candidejohnson for over 20 years and described the honouree as a man full of humour and intellect. He said given the jurist’s intellect and meticulousness, he was not surprise when Candide-johnson was appointed to the bench of Lagos State.
“While on the bench, Justice Candide-johnson exhibited intelligence, creativity and diligence. He was an exemplar of what a judge should be,” the AG said, adding that the judiciary was the better for it.
To buttress his view that Candide-johnson was fearless, he recalled a case in which he upheld the claim of a widow deprived of her husband’s property by the family. He prayed that the retiree would enjoy a healthy retirement from the bench.
Life Bencher, Dr Chuka Agbu, SAN, who represented the Body of Benchers, described Justice Candidejohnson as an epitome of justice given the value of productive years served in the Lagos Judiciary.
Agbu said the honouree had a reputation for service and one who dispensed justice in accordance with the dictates of the law.
“A courageous judge with good character. He is a testimony of impeccable upbringing. Underneath all this lies a man of integrity. He has written his name in the sands of time in the history of Lagos and Nigerian judiciary.”
Joe-kayari Gadzama, SAN, representing the Body of SANS (BOSAN) described Candidejohnson as “a courageous and intellectually given person”.
Ademola Akinrele, SAN, who Gadzama asked to also speak on behalf of BOSAN said Candidejohnson exuded a lot of confidence on the bench, was intellectual and compelling in his language and transparent in terms of his judgments.
He said there were no questions asked on his judgments because they are ”deliverd by the laws,” noting that though the honouree was a man of few words, he spoke with candour and “carried out his duty as a knowledgeable judge.”
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Chairman for Epe, Ademola Koko who was represented by Olayinka Olasewere congratulated the honouree and wished him a healthy retirement.
Chairman, NBA Lagos branch, Ikechukwu Uwanna said the honouree would be remembered for his legacy of service of legacy to the Lagos Judiciary.
Chairman NBA Ikeja, Batholomew Aguegbodo praised the jurist for the quality of judgments he always delivered, noting that by the time a counsel left his court, “you would be satisfied that justice had been served.”
Chairman Ikorodu NBA, Abimbola Ojedokun, whose first contact with Justice Candidejohnson was in the chamber of Prof Taiwo Osipitan, SAN, described him as a consummate bar man, saying he loved his sense of dressing and meticulousness.
NBA Badagry Chairman, M.A. Salawu extolled the judge’s diligence and knowledge of the law noting that as a lawyer, one must be fully prepared to appear before him.
Responding, Justice Candidejohnson said he was satisfied and fulfilled as he goes into retirement.
“For some, the fear of NJC was the beginning of wisdom. For me, it is not once you have served faithfully and dispense justice without fear or favour, “he added.
He thanked the judiciary for the opportunity to serve on the bench and his colleagues for their support.
His brother, Yemi Candidejohnson, SAN, praised the honouree for his sense of humour and for mentoring him.
He noted that he distinguished himself and did not soil the family’s name while on the bench.
‘A courageous judge with good character. He is a testimony of impeccable upbringing. Underneath all this lies a man of integrity. He has written his name in the sands of time in the history of Lagos and Nigerian judiciary’