FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan has stated that politicians fail in office because they get blinded by power, urging that the political class should allow the judiciary perform its constitutional functions
Jonathan made the remark during the book presentation/reception that ended week-long activities that marked the retirement of the Bayelsa State Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri.
At the event in Yenagoa, the state capital, Jonathan acknowledged the critical role Justice Abiri played when she swore in the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, thus averting a constitutional crisis in the state.
He advised politicians not to be blinded by the power they wield, while urging judicial officers to strive to be impartial and courageous in upholding the rule of law, which he noted was significant in the delivery of justice.
He said: “I advise politicians that while in office, let us not try to blackmail the judiciary because it is conservative. When we get political power, we get so blinded. Politicians should know that society is changing.
“Today, we are celebrating our retiring Chief Judge because she has served meritoriously. In 2015, she left Bayelsa for Rivers to perform the swearing-in of the governor thereby averting anarchy. It appears that the judicial arm is more functional than the executive.”
In his remarks, the Bayelsa governor, Senator Douye Diri, hailed Justice Abiri for her outstanding achievements, noting that during her 15-year term as Chief Judge, she swore in three governors in Bayelsa and one in Rivers.
They are Chief Timipre Sylva (2008), Senator Seriake Dickson (2012), Senator Douye Diri (2020) and Nyesom Wike (2015).
Governor Diri described Abiri as a legal icon, who rendered unblemished and meritorious service in three decades of legal practice.
He said the state would still require her services due to her commitment and wealth of experience.