Indications are that battle is now raging among Imo Top Judges as the race of who succeeds the incumbent Imo State Chief Judge, Hon Justice Paschal Nnadi hots up.
According to information available to Trumpeta, the present Chief Judge of the State is billed to retire early next year, a situation which has necessitated a scramble of the plum position which may be declared vacant whenever the present occupant leaves office.
Trumpeta learnt that in order of seniority and age, four judges in the State are primed to clinch the position. However, in the end, just one of them will make the list.
The Senior Judges are Hon Justice Ijeoma Agugua, Hon Justice Ikpeama, Hon Justice Ononeze Madu, and Hon Justice T E Chikeka.
Trumpeta investigation unveiled that though the entire four are qualified for the job but the matter depends on various and serious factors which may turn the table.
This Newspaper learnt that emergence of a Chief Judge of a State is not a tea party but serious business which is like a Bull passing through the eye of a needle.
Meanwhile, Trumpeta discovered that petitions are already flying about which arose from the stiff competition the fierce battle has generated among the contending parties.
Meanwhile, Trumpeta was informed that already, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Imo State has started contacting appropriate quarter regarding the appointment.
Trumpeta learnt that the five Branch chairmen of Nigeria Bar Association, Imo State chapter, had already met on the issue of a new Chief Judge of Imo State.
These Branches are Mbaise, Orlu, Okigwe, Mbano and Owerri.
Trumpeta learnt that the five chairmen were gathered to give their advice on the burning issue, which they did, following a letter from the Imo State Judiciary Service Commission.
Indeed, Trumpeta discovered that the chances of one of the “candidates” was being hinged on retirement date which is said to be too near.
Another is said to have a deluge of petitions against, which may mar the chances.
Sources said opponents against the mentioned jurists are working against the tide, as only appropriate authorities can determine the weight of petitions written against any person.
“Petition or no petition, it is only when such petitions are treated that they can be cited as reasons to stop any body. But as at now, whoever is qualified is qualified” a senior lawyer told Trumpeta.
Further investigations by Trumpeta on the matter showed that Imo Lawyers have different opinions on who becomes the next Chief Judge, which sources said may polarize the Imo Judiciary on the account of the latest development.
Most of the lawyers who spoke to Trumpeta opined that various factors influence the appointment of Chief Judges which include Age of Service, Age of Retirement, General Consensus, Judiciary Service Commission(JSC), Nigeria Bar Association(NBA), Attorney-General of the State, including the sitting Governor.
However, as the war over who succeeds Hon Justice Paschal Nnadi rages, the Bar, the Bench, Judiciary as a whole, Imo Legislature, the Executive and the entire Imo masses are watching and waiting.