Honourable Justice Jude Obunike Okeke (Ochudo Nkpor) was born on June 7, 1959 at Onitsha to the family of Mr. Francis and Mrs. Beatrice Okeke, all late, of Enugo, Umusiome Nkpor. In 1967, Jude enrolled at Saint Michael’s Primary School, Fegge, Onitsha and later Christ the King College, Onitsha (CKC), where he obtained Grade 1 in 1978. At CKC, he was nicknamed ‘De-English’ due to his exceptional mastery of English language.
His impressive results at CKC gained him immediate admission to study law at the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus (UNEC) in 1979. He graduated in 1984 with LL.B (Hons). He proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and was called to Bar in 1985. He observed his NYSC in the Ministry of Justice, Owerri, Imo State between 1985 and 1986.
Jude later observed pupilage with Okeke & Okeke-Izuagwu & Associates at Onitsha in 1986. He later became the Managing Partner of Okeke & Okeke Chambers, which made him relocate to Abuja in 1993. In 1998, he was appointed a Notary Public by the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria. In 2002, he was elected the Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch. In 2004, he was elected the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (Abuja Branch). He was also appointed into the National Executive Committee of NBA.
He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Abuja Multi-Door Court House; a member panel of Neutrals of the Abuja Multi-Door Court House; Chairman, Human Rights Committee NBA (Abuja Branch); member FCT High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules Review Committee. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators. In 2007, Jude Okeke was appointed a Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He was appointed and served as a member of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal for Taraba State in 2011. He equally served as a member, Panel on Appeals from FCT Magistrate Courts to FCT High Court. He served as a Vacation Judge of the FCT High Court in 2013. In 2017, he was a member, Administration of Criminal Justice Act Steering Committee of the FCT High Court, a position he held till his demise.
During his sterling judicial service of 13 years, he received numerous awards and commendations, including commendations from the National Judicial Council (NJC) for good performance. In 2011, the Lex Fora of the NBA (Abuja Branch) voted him “Most Bar Friendly Judge Per Excellence” in the FCT High Court. Similarly, in 2014, the NBA (Abuja Branch) voted him “Outstanding Judicial Officer” in the FCT High Court. In 2015, an anonymous litigant sent a commendation to him through the Hon. Chief Judge of the FCT for giving him justice.
Recently, His lordship was widely recommended to the NJC for elevation to the Court of Appeal bench by the Honourable Chief Judge of the FCT and numerous Honourable Justices of both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
For being a worthy ambassador of his community, Nkpor, he was honoured with a chieftaincy title as ‘Ochudo Nkpor’ by Igwe C. A. Ibegbunam. Hon. Justice Jude Okeke was a devout Catholic. He was a committed parishioner at Saint Alphonsus’ Catholic Parish, Nkpor-Uno.
On April 29, 1992, he got married to Ngozi Grace, from the Obumselu royal family of Ohita in Ogbaru LGA. The marriage was blessed with four children, Dr. Mrs. William-Enemali; Barrister Divine Chiemelie, Yvonne Kosisochukwu and Mandela Ifeanyi.
On August 4, 2020, Hon. Justice Jude Okeke received a higher calling. He was aged 61. To God be the glory. Adieu Ochudo Nkpor!