Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has felicitated the State Chief Judge, Justice Stephen Okon, on his meritorious retirement from service, saying his diligence, dedication to duty and transparency in service delivery propelled him to the peak of the legal profession.
Governor Emmanuel stated this during a thanksgiving service held in honour of the retiring State Chief Judge, at the Assemblies of God Church, Aka Itiam Road, Uyo.
According to the Governor ” the sterling record of Justice Okon is a source of encouragement to others aspiring to his position in the profession” explaining that he had a pleasant working relationship with him and described Justice Okon as an incorruptible Judge who has strengthened public confidence in the Judiciary.
Commending Justice Okon for being focused in the discharge of his duties despite distractions and downturn in the economy, Governor Emmanuel said ” as a leader, you would be misconstrued, misquoted and misrepresented. It is not easy to be a Chief Judge under a terrible recession but you stood strong”.
The State Chief Executive who expressed delight at the peaceful and well deserved retirement of Justice Okon, noted that he bowed out with no dent in his record and in sound health.
He assured that his wise counsel would be sought for the advancement of the state.
“I thank God for your divine health, it is not everybody who is retiring as a Chief Judge at the age of 65, that stand strong, hale and hearty .You are retired but not tired, i want to assure you that the State is for everybody and the task of taking it to greater heights demands collective effort so your wise advice would be sought from time to time for the development of the state ” The Governor stated.
Acknowledging the difficulties encountered by Magistrates in the discharge of their duties, the Governor assured that his administration is determined to encourage them in their service delivery, maintaining that effective dispensation of justice brings about stability in the society.
He therefore, announced a donation of official cars to Magistrates in the state to facilitate efficient service delivery.
Justice Okon, accompanied by his wife Veronica and children, expressed appreciation to God for his blessings to the family, stating that his service in the judiciary and meritorious retirement have been eventful.
He attributed the feat to God’s grace, wisdom and transparency in the discharge of his duties, saying “nobody can challenge me that I have ever asked for a bribe in the course of my duty “.
Justice Okon particularly expressed appreciation to his family members, friends, colleagues and acquaintances for their support throughout his career.
In a sermon, Uyo District Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Reverend Innocent Paul, admonished Christians who find themselves in positions of authority to acknowledge that God raised them to be a blessing to others.
Reverend Paul, who culled his sermon from the Book of Jeremiah 33:10-16 and preached on the theme “Great journey of life” urged Christians to develop the habit of regular consultations with God through prayers before taking decisions in life.
He said this would enable them surmount challenges as they pass through the preparatory, manifestation and exit stages of life.
The thanksgiving service was attended by the Chief Judges of Delta, Bayelsa and Cross River States, State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uwemedimo Nwoko, Head of Civil Service Mrs Ekerebong Akpan, State High Court Judges, Magistrates, members of the Nigerian Bar Association, among others.