By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko, Ibadan.
The Oyo State Chief Judge, Justice Munta Abimbola, on Friday officially disengaged from active service in the state’s judiciary after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 65 set for High Court Judges.
At the valedictory court session in his honour at the state’s High Court, Ibadan, the Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, said that Abimbola played a multi-dimensional role.
Oyewo, who praised Abimbola for his hard work, firmness and immense contributions to effective administration of justice, also prayed that the rest of his life might be the best.
The National President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), who was represented by Mr Seun Abimbola, SAN, said that the outgoing Chief Judge had left an indelible mark in the judiciary across the federation and not only in Oyo State.
He commended Abimbola for effective administration of Criminal Justice Law in the state.
“The retiring CJ, among many other achievements, scored very high in the setting of Oyo State Multi-Door Court House; by this he demonstrated that justice dispensation is, indeed, the primary role of the judiciary.
“Also, it was during his tenure that family court was established in the state, which boosted public confidence in the judiciary,” he said.
Mrs Folake Solanke, the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in Nigeria, congratulated the retiring CJ for safe landing after a hectic but successful service.
Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State described Abimbola as his good teacher and solid adviser who worked in good synergy with his administration.
Makinde promised that his administration would continue to prioritise the welfare of the judiciary and make their jobs easier.
“We thank God that the CJ is ending well today. Thank God for the work God used you to do in Oyo State entirely and not only in judiciary,” Makinde said.
Responding, the retiring CJ remarked that he maintained peace in the judiciary and had peace with all, while his judgments were subject of international discourse.
Abimbola, who stressed that for one to go far in life, one must work in synergy with others, noted that he would not have gone so far in life without the sacrifices of others.
He thanked God for the opportunity given to him to be the CJ, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Oluwakayode Ariwoola, for his mentorship and support and also Gov. Makinde for giving him all the necessary support.
“I also thank immensely my family, friends, colleagues, staff and well-wishers for always being there for me.
“I’m happy and proud for the past and exceedingly hopeful for the future,” he said.
On behalf of the family, the CJ’s son, Mr Ademola Abimbola, said: “Today is a remarkable day to the Abimbola’s family, as our father retired without being tired”.
Justice Abimbola, who was born on Jan. 14, 1958, attended University of Ife, graduated in 1982 and was called to bar in 1983.
He became a judge in the state in 1997, rose to the office of the chief judge in 2015 and served as the Oyo State Chief Judge for eight years.
Dignitaries at the event include the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Oluwakayode Ariwoola, friends and members of the Abimbola family.