The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, is set to send the name of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to the National Assembly for confirmation as the substantive CJN, The PUNCH has learnt.
Buhari had, on November 10, 2016, inaugurated Onnoghen as acting CJN following the retirement of Justice Mahmud Mohammed at the attainment of the mandatory 70-year retirement age.
The National Judicial Council had earlier forwarded Onnoghen’s name to the President to be named the new CJN based on the recommendation of the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
According to the law, the President is expected to forward the name of the nominee to the Senate for confirmation.
He stated, “However, the President has not forwarded his name to the Senate as provided under Section 231(1) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended), and Justice Onnoghen has been acting for almost three months.
“This has concomitantly raised suspicion and great concern among most Nigerians, bearing in mind that for the past 30 years, no southerner has been appointed as CJN, which is contrary to principle of equity and fairness.
“In fact, the issue of the constitutionality of the appointment of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the substantive CJN has generated a lot of controversy across our political spectrum, which of course, is not healthy for the stability of the nation.
“We therefore humbly and passionately appeal that the President and Acting President, as a matter of urgent national importance, should do the needful and forward Justice Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive CJN in compliance with Section 231(1) of the1999 Constitution (as amended).”