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Former Delta CJ, Omo-Agege dies at 87

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*Okowa, Uduaghan, Ibori pay tributes

By Festus Ahon, ASABA

Former Chief Judge of Delta State and pioneer Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC, Justice James Omo-Agege, OFR (Rtd), is dead. He died Thursday at the age of 87. In their separate reactions, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and former governors James Onanefe Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan extolled the former judge describing him as one of the sages that treaded the judicial scene.

The family in a statement by one of his sons, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege said the late Justice James Omo-Agege was the patriarch of the Omo-Agege Dynasty of Orhomuru – Orogun who lived “eventful life as one of the finest jurists in our nation’s history. Without any doubt, our father’s legacy is a most courageous, dignifying and glorious one.

“We are grateful for his life of absolute honour, dignity, and patriotism. His love for the rule of law and the judiciary is etched in history for all time. We can only celebrate his greatness”

Okowa, Ibori, Uduaghan mourn

In his tribute to the late judge, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in a condolence message by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, described late  Justice Omo-Agege as a fearless judge who as Chairman of the Bendel State Armed Robbery and Firearms Tribunal found the dreaded Anini and his gang members guilty of conspiracy and armed robbery and sentenced them to death by firing squad.

The Governor said that the Late Chief Judge would be missed by all whose lives he had touched in many ways in his “very fulfilled and achievements-laden life.

“Justice Omo-Agege’s life-long dedication and indefatigable commitment to serving the people of the state will be missed. He will be honoured by his proud countrymen and women for his unblemished service and exemplary career which had inspired others to take up a career in the judiciary.”

Former governor of the state, Chief James Onanefe Ibori has also extolled late Justice Omo-Agege, as “one of the leading lights of Delta state, especially, in those first trying years after it was carved out from Bendel  state.”  Ibori, said that Omo-Agege was visibly involved in the task of seeing that the then emerging Delta state unified and developed very fast.

Speaking through Tony Eluemunor, his Media Assistant, Chief Ibori said: “A great leading light dimmed today (Thursday).  One of the great foundations on which the state rested, has given way. He played the role of a father to those coming after him.  He had the knack of identifying promising young men and women and he would go out of his way to encourage them to reach higher heights.

I can testify to this because, I am one of those encouraged. Even during the truncated transition under the Gen. Sani Abacha administration, he fully supported my involvement in politics, always saying to me; “keep your eyes on the prize”.  And when another transition succeeded that, he was one of those who backed me.  So, personally, I owe him a great debt”.

Also, former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in a statement signed by his media aide, Sunny Areh said late Justice James Omo-Agege  will be remembered for his dispassionate dispensation of justice from the Bench and his willingness to continue to serve God and humanity in retirement.

Reacting to the death of the late Chief Judge, Dr. Uduaghan said Nigeria has once again lost another eminent member of the golden era of the nation’s judiciary, adding that Justice Omo-Agege’s tell-tale liberalism on the Bench earned him the honour as one of the sages that treaded the judicial scene.

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