Lagos State Governor, hasÂ stressed the need for respect of the principle of separation of powers among the three arms of government saying without it the act of governance would be imperiled.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the Lagos House Marina while bidding farewell to the retiring Chief Judge of the State, Justice Augustine Ade Alabi, said the principle required that each arm must never do anything to subvert the other in the execution of their functions.
He declared, â€œThe first thing to realize is that there are three arms of government and the principle of separation of powersâ€, adding, â€œNot only must the offices that lead these arms be respected; the persons that lead them deserve utmost respectâ€.
The Governor said the Lagos State Government had been successfully run on the wheels of the respect of that principle based on mutual respect and cooperation, pointing out that although there hadÂ been grey areas; the government has been able to overcome those areas in an atmosphere of mutual understanding.
â€œIt is a relationship of cooperation and respect and though there are grey areas, but we have crossed the grey areas together in an atmosphere that recognizes that if we do not work together we stand imperiled togetherâ€, he said.
The Governor described Justice Alabi as â€œa Judge bred in the noble tradition of the very fiery Lagos Barâ€ said the ceremony was for him a glorious moment adding that the passing of torch from the retiring Chief Judge to the in_coming one in the person of Justice Inumidun Akande, was not just a passing of baton but a stamp of integrity.
â€œIt is a stamp of integrity when a Chief Judge passes on the torch to his next in line also bred in that tradition and in a continuity , the honour and precedence that the Lagos Judiciary continues to keepâ€, the Governor said, adding that he felt very proud being the overseer of the ceremony.
Congratulating the retiring Chief Judge, Governor Fashola also announced that the appointment of Justice Akande as acting Chief Judge of the State has been approved by the National Judicial Council (NJC) adding that what is left is for the State House of Assembly, which members are currently on â€œa well earned and well deserved recessâ€, to approve the appointment.
â€œBut in the interim, and by virtue of the provision of Section 271 (4) of the 1999 Constitution, we have appointed her to act as Chief Judge of the State in an acting capacity until the House of Assembly confirms her appointmentâ€, the Governor said.
To the Acting Chief Judge, Governor Fashola promised that the Executive arm of which he is the head â€œwill be your worthy partnersâ€, adding that with the quality of legal luminaries that constitute the Executive arm, the Acting Chief Judge should expect no less.
Speaking earlier, Justice Alabi thanked Governor Fashola for giving him all the cooperation and the conducive atmosphere in which he carried out his duties as a Chief Judge, pointing out that he was called Prince of Chief Judges by his colleagues at the National level as a result of the innovations the Lagos Judiciary always brought to the national domain whenever the Chief Judges met atÂ national conferences.
Describing Governor Fashola as a personal friend, Justice Alabi, who described himself as the luckiest man on earth, said the friendship was cultivated under Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu when Governor Fashola was Chief of Staff noting that the State Judiciary received necessary cooperation and encouragement from his office.
â€œI refused other ceremonies that would have come with my retirement, but I said I must come to see the Governor to say thank you and that although I am retiring, I am ready, for your sake, to continue to give my service for the welfare of Lagos State all my lifeâ€, the retiring Chief Judge pledged.
In an interview later, Justice Alabi told newsmen that he had very few challenges during his service because he has been in the system since 1986 adding that during the period, the Judiciary was able to introduce new rules and new procedures as well as appoint Sheriffs in place of Bailiffs among other achievements.
The retiring Chief Judge was later presented a Mercedes Benz C200 car as a parting gift from the State Government by Governor Fashola.
Also present at the ceremony were the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of the State, Mr. Olasupo Sasore (SAN), the new Acting Chief Judge, Justice Inumidun Akande, her husband, Chief Akande and other top Government functionaries.