Justice John Terhemba Tsoho: A judge with tact, courage, punctuality, firmness and humility
By Adewole Kehinde
The Hon. Justice Adamu Abdu Kafarati finally bowed out of the Bench on July 25th, 2019 on attainment of the mandatory statutory retirement age of 65 years thereby clearing the coast for Hon Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, as the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria.
Hon. Justice John Terhemba Tsoho was born on the 24th June, 1959 at Mbaduku, now in Vandeikya LGA of Benue State.
Justice Tsoho attended St. Anthony’s Primary School, Chenge – Mbaduku from1967 to1972; Mt. St. Michael’s Secondary School, Aliade from 1973 to 1977 for his West African School Certificate; the Murtala College of Arts, Science and Technology, Makurdi from 1978 to 1979 for the IJMBE and the University of Lagos between 1980 and 1984, where he obtained his Bachelor Laws Degree (LL.B. Hons), before proceeding to the Nigerian Law School in 1985 to become a Barrister-at-Law.
On graduation, the young John Tsoho did his N.Y.S.C at Delta Palm Ltd., Port Harcourt as Company Legal Assistant from August 1985 to August 1986. He went into Private Legal Practice in Gboko from August 1986 to Oct. 1986.
He became an Inspector of Area Courts, Benue State Judiciary from October 1986 to Dec. 1987; Magistrate/ Chief Magistrate, Benue State Judiciary from January, 1988 to March, 1996. He was appointed Arbitrator in a Contractual Dispute from February 1994 to June 1994.
He became the Secretary, Magistrates’ Association of Nigeria, Benue State Branch from June, 1988 to July, 1990 and eventually the Chairman of the Association from December, 1995 to April, 1996.
He served as Acting Chief Registrar, High Court of Benue State between August, 1996 and March, 1997. He was appointed substantive Chief Registrar, Benue State High Court from 9th October, 1997 to11th November, 1998.
Justice Tsoho was appointed Judge, Federal High Court on 12th Nov. 1998 and became the Acting Chief Judge on the 26th July, 2019
He was also the President of the University of Lagos Law Class of 1980 – 1983 from April, 2015 to March, 2017.
Justice John Tsoho is a Judge with reputation for maintaining order and dignity in court proceedings. He competently runs his Court and clearly shows that he is in charge, but without descending into the arena and without unduly interfering or hindering the parties in the presentation of their cases. He is a patient Judge!
He has consistently exhibited patience, open-mindedness, courtesy, tact, courage, punctuality, firmness, understanding, compassion, humility and much common sense in all aspects of his adjudication.
Also Justice Tsoho has been on the Federal High Court Bench for more than 20 years without any serious petition against him; except about two frivolous ones that came 2 years ago, which were master-minded by very desperately malicious minds, but was exonerated by the NJC.
I would say that knowledge, experience, good judgement, independence and character stand Justice Tsoho out. He is a Judge with a sound knowledge of the law and the practice of the courts.
Justice Tsoho, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight for a better nation and corrupt -free society, has promised to lead by example.
He stated after taking oath of office: “If for instance, it shows that you are transparent, other people will be encouraged to be transparent too.”
He has also promised to set up an anti-corruption committee in line with government policy, requesting all arms of Government to set up one.
He further promised to strengthen the war against corruption, not necessarily by open propagation, but by genuinely monitoring and advising as appropriate, using such committee, if it already exists on ground.
Justice Tsoho, whose hobbies are Reading, Listening to Music & Jogging is aged 60 years.
Adewole Kehinde is a Publisher and Public Affairs Analyst based in Abuja, Nigeria. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org