Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has described retired Supreme Court Justice James Ogebe as an exemplary jurist of all times. Obi was speaking at the weekend in Abuja during the launch of the autobiography of the octogenarian entitled, Justice Under the Shadow of the Almighty: My Life Sojourn to the Nigerian Supreme Court to mark his 80th birthday anniversary.
Speaking to journalists after the event, Obi said that the decision to defy the threat of Coronavirus to attend the event was out of the highest regards he had for the foremost jurist.
“You may not know that Justice Ogebe was the person who returned me as Governor after my impeachment in 2006. He did so without anybody telling me what I hate to hear, that one must do this or that,” Obi, who was the Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2019 polls, said.
He said he decided to honour Justice Ogebe by his presence and as a way of expressing his belief that those that serve Nigeria faithfully must be accorded the respect they deserve.
Obi revealed that since Justice Ogebe returned him as Anambra State Governor in 2007, he (Obi) had not directly or indirectly bought coffee for him, but that occasions like the 80th birthday anniversary present opportunities for one to honour truth by honouring its purveyors.
Bemoaning what he called the “crisis of values” affecting all sectors of the country, Obi said that people like Justice Ogebe, retired from the Supreme Court in 2010, should be held high as examples worthy of emulation.
Honourable Justice Ogebe (JSC (rtd.), is an eminent jurist with several years of distinguished judicial and humanitarian service to humanity and Nigeria.
His unblemished leadership and meritorious service was evident in his successive professional rise through the ranks from a Pupil State Counsel in the Ministry of Justice of the defunct Benue-Plateau State in 1968 to Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Senior Magistrate, Acting Chief Registrar, Chief Registrar, Acting Chief Judge of Benue State, substantive Justice of the High Court of Benue State, Justice of the Court of Appeal and Justice of the Supreme Court; from where he retired in 2010.
He models exceptional leadership skill and excellence in execution of State and national assignments where he served as Chairman of several Commissions of Inquiry and Tribunals.
Described as a kind spirited gentleman, with a special interest in caring for the less privileged in the society, Justice Ogebe is a Trustee of the Bible Society of Nigeria; Trustee Hope for the Blind; Trustee Federation of Christian Students; Trustee the Great Commission Movement; Patron Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria; Life Bencher of The Body of Benchers.
Hon. Justice Ogebe is a recipient of the ‘Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)’ and ‘Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON)’.