By Bamidele Aturu
Justice Chukwudifu Oputa
The announcement of the death of Honourable Chukwudifu Oputa at a ripe age is nonetheless painful. His death is painful precisely because we were using him as a barometer for serving judges and practicing lawyers to know that the pursuit of excellence, justice and decency is incompatible with an insatiable craving for easy wealth, a practice which now makes the bar and the bench to stink to high heavens.
Now, with his passing we would have to double our efforts to restore morality and sanity to the profession that Honourable Justice Oputa loved and served loyally.
Anyone who has had the opportunity to read his judgments and opinions generally would agree that he was one of the finest jurists that ever lived on this planet. His knowledge of the law is sound, deep and catholic. Not once has anyone, litigant or counsel, challenged Justice Oputa’s judgment on the ground of corruption.
Of course, there were many decisions he gave that one could disagree with. Even then, one cannot but recognize that he approached his work with unparalleled zeal and uncommon honesty.
We have the onerous duty to do all in our power to ensure that traders or mercantilists of the worst hue are no longer appointed to the bench to desecrate it. This duty is for all Nigerians and cannot be left to lawyers and judges alone. May his vibrant and rigorous soul rest in peace!
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