The Supreme Court last Thursday organised a Valedictory Court session to officially mark the bowing out of Justice Abdu Aboki, from the Bench of the Apex Court, having attained the mandatory retirement age of 70.
The occasion, which was chaired by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, had in attendance, serving and former Justices and Judges of various courts in the country, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, former and serving State Governors including, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Aminu Masari of Katsina, Yahaya Bello of Kogi, former Imo State Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, among other eminent personalities.
In his remarks, the Acting CJN, noted that although Aboki spent a very short time on the Bench of the Apex Court, “his imprint on our judicature as orchestrated by his Lordship’s eloquent judicial pronouncements, are glowing and indelible”.
According to the Acting CJN, the Retired Justice clearly impressed on the Bench of the Apex Court “the fact that it is not always how far, but how well”. He said, “our dear Valedictorian is a specimen of doggedness, integrity and humility. We admire him passionately within our fold; and I can assure you that, so many people are queueing up to follow in his footsteps in the outer world where his Lordship is now going in a blaze of glory with impenetrable judicial sagacity”.
Similarly, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, in his own remarks described Aboki as a “legal colossus and an exemplary judicial officer”. Malami, while observing that the just retired JSC creditably served in both the Executive and Judicial arms of government, commended Aboki for excelling and reaching the zenith of his career.
“In this very succinct account of his Lordship’s sojourn on the legal trail, evidence abounds, to his efforts at limiting the excesses of the Executive and Legislature, whilst also maintaining his integrity by an outward equanimity and fairness towards whatever issue is brought before the court”, the AGF said.
On his part, new President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Y. C. Maikyau, SAN described Justice Aboki as an exemplary jurist, who deftly combines knowledge and integrity with the right demeanour and discipline, characteristic of a Judge.
“His Lordship is a thorough and disciplined jurist; counsel appearing before a Panel with his Lordship as a member or presiding, must be prepared to answer straight and probing questions. These questions often go to the crux of the case or appeal – an indication of his Lordship’s painstaking dedication to the adjudicatory function”, Maikyau remarked.
While the NBA President observed that Aboki’s judicial career, spanning almost four decades, has come to an end, he stressed that “it is the beginning of another stage of Your Lordship’s impactful life. I urge Your Lordship to enjoy the well-earned rest with your family from whom we have kept you away for far too long, even as I apologise in advance for occasional interruptions as we come back to seek your Lordship’s advice on knotty issues”.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, Justice Aboki, now retired, thanked God Almighty and all those who made his sojourn in the Judiciary worthwhile.
While he called on the Executive arm of government to urgently review the remuneration of judicial officers, Aboki called on the National Assembly to re-enact laws that would reduce the number of cases that gets to the Apex Court.
According to the retired Justice, “only appeals relating to Presidential elections should come to the Supreme Court. Others should end at the Court of Appeal. This call is of utmost importance, in order to lessen the heavy burden of the Justices of the Court”.
Justice Aboki also suggested to the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee, to review the requirements for the conferment of the rank of SAN, explaining that the requirements is responsible for many frivolous, vexatious and needless appeals filed by Lawyers desirous of the prestigious rank.
Hon. Justice Abdu Aboki was born on August 5, 1952 in the commercial city of Kano. He started his primary education in Lokoja which he completed in Kano when he relocated there after his father’s death. He had his secondary education in at Government Secondary School, Hadeja, before proceeding to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he studied Law.
Upon his graduation in 1976, he proceeded to the Nigerian Law School in Victoria Island, Lagos; and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1977.
Justice Aboki was appointed a High Court Judge in Kano State Judiciary in 1987. He was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2006; from where he came to Supreme Court in 2020.