The immediate past Chief Judge of Kwara State, Justice Suleiman Kawu, has given insight into how the state Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, gave him the confidence to pull through a tough moment in the twilight of his career.
He said the governor’s support came at a critical moment when several petitions were written to force him out of office.
Justice Kawu retired as the chief judge of the state on Wednesday amid commendations for his brilliance, forthrightness, people skills, and other good leadership qualities with which he ran the office.
Speaking at a dinner the governor held in his honour, Kawu recalled how AbdulRazaq told him to “ignore the attacks on him and continue his duties as the CJ”.
“There was also a time when, for some reason, some issues cropped up and there were so many petitions written against me, both to me, to your Excellency, the Kwara State House of Assembly and the National Judicial Council. It got to a time I was almost fed up.
“I booked an appointment with your excellency one day and I told you (Governor) that I was preparing to retire as the Chief Judge of Kwara state, and if you find me wanting on three issues of being a lazy judge, corrupt, or I have used my office for political ends. I said just any of them, and I would be ready to resign.
“And you asked me, why did you ask this question? I replied that the petitions were too unbearable for me. I remember that you just opened your drawer and showed me some copies of the petitions, and also said, if I had not raised it, you would not have bothered to ask me. And you said ‘please my Lord, go on with your work’.
“That your action impacted me positively as it gave me the confidence that I was doing the right thing and that I could go on. May God Almighty continue to guide and protect you,” a statement on Friday by the governor’s spokesman, Rafiu Ajakaye, quoted him as saying.
Responding, AbdulRazaq congratulated Justice Kawu on his successful retirement after his meritorious service to the state, affirming that he enjoyed working with him as the state chief judge.
“I celebrate with my Lord on this momentous day. This is a day that every public servant would look forward to with joy; it is a day to cherish and to remember forever,” he said.
He said Kawu’s wealth of experience would continue to be of immense benefit to the state, hoping that the retired CJ would always be available to render the same support to the state and Nigeria as a whole even after retirement.
“I want to place on record that since assuming office as governor, I have had a cordial working relationship with Hon. Justice Kawu. In the past three and a half years, I have enjoyed his forthrightness, his commitment to duty, and his readiness to serve,” he said.
“Today marks your Lordship’s official disengagement from service. Words alone cannot express my felicitations to you on your remarkable public service duty tour spanning nearly four decades.”