'I owe my success to the power of prayer' - Mrs Justice Wood
Accra, June 8, GNA - Mrs Georgina Wood, who retired today as Ghana's longest serving Chief Justice, has attributed her outstanding stewardship to the power of prayer, and thus urged the leaders of the nation to draw from that divine power to succeed.
Addressing a service to mark her 70th Birthday at the Assemblies of God Ringway Gospel Centre in Accra, Mrs Wood thanked God and expressed her gratitude to the many individuals and groups who interceded on her behalf.
Mrs Justice Wood, who has often joined the Women's Aglow to pray for the nation, said many Ghanaians she did not even know, sometimes called to assure her that they were praying for her, especially in those times when people sought to pressurise her to step down.
However, she said, an endeavour that was driven by the Strong Arm of God was bound to succeed.
Mrs Justice Wood's decade tenure as Chief Justice has been invariably described by members of the Bench, Bar and the public as the 'most distinguished' and 'characterised with unprecedented achievements'.
Ghana's first female Chief Justice, who served with four Presidents in the Fourth Republic, has been credited with many innovations geared towards making justice easily accessible to the poor, promoting transparency, integrity, impartiality and other values in the administration of justice.
Mrs Justice Wood also paid tribute to those worked with her to see the fruition of her initiatives and took the heat on her behalf when the cynics assailed her without cause.
These include Justice Jones Dotse of the Supreme Court, the Judicial Secretary, Mr Justice Alex Poku-Akyeampng, Mr Bernard Bentil, the judge assigned to head her secretariat and Mrs Grace Tagoe, the Director of Communications at her Secretariat.
Mrs Justice Wood, however, mentioned her husband, Mr Edwin Wood, a retired banker as her backbone and the boost for her legendary integrity.
The Reverend Joseph K. Baisie, the Greater Accra Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church, prayed for Mrs Justice Wood and wished her well and a pleasant retirement.
The Church presented her with a bouquet as a birthday gift.
The visible-elated retired Chief Justice danced to the melodious music provided by the
Symphonic Kings Boys Choir, Legon and shook hands with the close family members, allies and well-wishers, who turned up for the all-white attire service.
Later in an interview, Mr Justice Dotse told the GNA that he would remember his retired boss for her dedication to reforms, ability to work under pressure, her discipline and her sterling human relations, which enabled her to relate with every individual from the top to the bottom of the ladder.
Mrs Justice Wood who was appointed in May 2007, by former President John Agyekum Kufuor, developed a five-year strategic plan (January 2014 to December 2018) to guide the Judiciary's vision. The plan is dubbed 'Justice without Barriers'.
She championed the review of Procedural Codes and Court rules. These rules have led to transparency and efficiency on the part of judges, whose role have been diversified with the establishment of specialised courts such as: the Financial Crime, Commercial, Human Rights and Electoral Courts and Labour Courts.
The just-retired CJ in her bid to help decongest the prisons introduced: the 'Justice For All Programme', which has given the platform for individuals on remand whose cases have not been heard, to have them investigated for the appropriate remedies to be applied.
Her aggressive policy of expanding court infrastructure has led to the refurbishment of existing court houses and construction of New Courts Complex, popularly known among legal practitioners as the 'Shaolin Temple'. It houses more than 40 High Courts.
Through the dint of her hard work, the Judicial Service in 2015, inaugurated a 42 courtroom complex along the 28 February Road in Accra.
She vigorous championed and promoted Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in a bid to encourage out of court of settlements, especially for various commercial cases, towards decongesting the courts.
From a career as a Public Prosecutor in the Ghana Police Service, she joined the Judicial Service as a District Magistrate Court, in 1974.