A Benin based fiery lawyer and philanthropist, Olayiwola Afolabi, Esq, has established an annual award titled Justice Esther Edigin Law Award to be given to three law students for the next four years in honour of the immediate past Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice (Mrs) Esther Edigin (rtd).
He said the award was for the fact that she retired from the Bench unblemished and as result of a judgement the she passed in favour of his chamber despite having a case against her where he had earlier crossed examined her.
He stated that, ordinarily, he ought to have lost the case having tackled the Justice before another Judge in a case that had to do with her father’s estate but she never pervert justice nor being sentimental.
While stating that integrity is Justice Edigin’s watch word, Olayiwola said she does not bring sentiment when it comes to law.
“She filed a case against some persons over her father’s estate and I happened to be counsel to these people. And because of the case, I cross examined Justice Esther Edigin before another judge. Meanwhile we had another case before justice Edigin this same period, so we made up our minds that we had already lost the case but we were shocked when Justice Edigin ruled in our favour.
“Justice Edigin knew when she appeared in the court and I cross examined her, it is law not sentiment and when that case got to the Court of Appeal, the panelists commended her for the ruling,” he said.
Giving the award to the first beneficiaries made up of Samuel Eromosele, Benedita Osunde and Elizabeth Eromosele all drawn from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Afolabi described her as incorruptible, calm and fearless, just as he poured eulogies on her.
He said the beneficiaries of the award are not just going home with law gowns and wigs alone, but they are giving half bag of rice each for them to feed well and do well in their studies and careers.
Also speaking, Osamudiame Anthony Osula, an Associate Counsel at Oloyiwola Afolabi and Co Chambers, described Justice Edigin as Judge who does not pervert justice, stressing that it’s very rare a superior court upturns any ruling by the retired judge.
He said throughout her career as a judge, not a single case of corruption was leveled against her though many judges are being accused of collecting bribe from politicians to manipulate election petition result but Justice Edigin case was not such.
Osula who said the retired CJ does not descend to the erana of conflict in her court, commended her for retiring from the noble profession unblemished.
“To me, her greatest achievement is her calmness and incorruptibility, a very rare virtue of Nigerians of today,” he said.
On his part, Mr President Aigbokhan, Esq. who wished the retired CJ well in her future endeavours, described Afolabi who instituted the award as a giver that is always willing to promote the well being of people around him.
While commending Afolabi for always being the vanguard of the downtrodden, he said, “he is never careful in spending just to make an impact in the lives of others.”
The beneficiaries thanked Olayiwola Afolabi chambers for the honour done on them, saying the law materials given to them will go a long way in assisting them in their career.