Outgoing Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood has “raised the bar” with her achievements in office, leaving whoever will be named as her successor with so much to do in outperforming her, Nana Obiri Boahen, the Deputy General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), has said.
“She has been exceptional, in my candid opinion,” the lawyer said of Mrs Wood in an interview on Accra100.5FM’s Ghana Yensom on Thursday May 11.
Ms Wood will be stepping down as Chief Justice on June 8, 2017, having attained the mandatory retirement age of 70.
The former policewoman who joined the judiciary as a District Magistrate in 1974, went through the Circuit, High, and Appeals Court to become Chief Justice in 2007, making her the first woman to head Ghana’s judiciary.
And touting Ms Wood’s achievements on the show, Mr Boahen, a lawyer, said the CJ had brought about “a lot of changes” in the judiciary, notable among them the setting up of special courts to deal expeditiously with land, commercial, and labour disputes, among others, adding that the CJ had also brought about “discipline” within the third arm of government by rooting out rogue judges and other Judicial Service staff against whom allegations of corruption had been proven.
“Those changes she has brought about are no mean achievement,” he told show host Chief Jerry Forson.
“So she has done very well. What she has accomplished has become a high standard for whoever succeeds her to scale. With that yardstick, she has performed exceedingly.”
The NPP executive also dismissed talk that President Akufo-Addo was set to bypass Justice William Atuguba, the most senior Supreme Court justice after Ms Wood, and name a different judge as CJ as payback for ruling against the petition of the NPP in the 2012 election petition.
Justice Atuguba was president of the nine-member panel of Supreme Court judges that sat on the case and voted against all the reliefs sought by then defeated presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP.
Mr Boahen, however, said no one had yet been picked for CJ for which reason such claim of retaliation should be disregarded.
“That speculation, I believe, is unfounded and it has no basis, because a new person has not been named. So why do you speculate?” he asked.
In his view, all the justices of the Supreme Court are “competent enough” to become Ghana’s Chief Justice.