While Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, was recently accused of high handedness in sacking squatters in the Cross River Chief Judge’s residence and directing that the residence be put under lock and key, investigations by www.calitown.com appear to show that the governor’s decision, without any malice, helped stem the ripping off of furniture and other valuables from the residence.
A Government House, Calabar, source maintained to us on inquiry that, “on that fateful day, as they were carting the furniture away in a truck, security personnel around the area accosted them. The people told security that they were sent to pick up the furniture. On instructions from the governor, some security personnel followed them to the Judiciary headquarters on Mary Slessor Road, Calabar, where their action was confirmed. It’s not clear if they took the furniture back to the CJ’s residence, but two days after, Governor Ayade directed that all those living in the residence be ejected and the place locked up since the CJ was not living there. Meanwhile, the basis for the furnishing of the CJ’s residence was because someone, somewhere had wrongly insisted to the governor that late CJ, Okoi Itam’s family stripped the place of furniture.”
Judiciary sources contacted refused to comment when further inquiries were made.
Meanwhile, the imminent retirement of Michael Edem, Chief Judge of Cross River State, is brewing a succession ‘war’ in the state. Akon Ikpeme, next on the pecking order as the most senior judge after Edem, appears not to be the choice of fifth columnists who are insisting that only an indigene of the state can be a CJ. Ikpeme is by birth from neighbouring Akwa Ibom State but married to a Cross River indigene.
They also are insisting that Ikpeme’s role in the Akon Ikpeme/Dino Melaye telephone issue, does not convince them that the sanctity of that position will remain adequately in place with Ikpeme there.
One senior judicial officer, however, maintained to www.calitown.com that Ikpeme has nothing to fear. “See, the thing I know they had against her was the ‘wahala’ with Dino Melaye in the 2015 election petition. Smart Adeyemi petitioned her to the National Judicial Council, NJC, and the NJC gave a decision in her favour. Yes, they say she’s an Akwa Ibom woman who’s married to a Cross Riverian so she can’t be CJ even though she’s the most senior judge after the current CJ. I haven’t heard or seen anything like this. The chance to be CJ is one in a lifetime, God will help her take it and of course, she has the law of her side. All what you people are hearing is purely sentimental. She has worked in Cross River Ministry of Justice before she she moved to the Judiciary. She was former DPP or worked in the DPPs office and all this while they didn’t bring up all these false alarms?”
Should Ikpeme fail to get the nod, Maurice Eneji, next in line, maybe CJ?
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