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Justice Onnoghen may not be Nigeria's substantive CJN - Fayose

By Lere Olayinka
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Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has raised the alarm over

possibility of preventing Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen from becoming

the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), saying his appointment

as Acting CJN was “either a grand plot to deprive him of his

well-deserved appointment as CJN because he is from the South-South

region or those cabals in the Aso Rock Presidential Villa want to hold

him in the jugular, using his confirmation as substantive CJN to get

him to assist them to pervert justice.”
In a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti by his Special Assistant on Public

Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said it

was strange that despite that the National Judicial Council (NJC)

recommended only Justice Onnoghen to President Muhammadu Buhari for

appointment as the CJN in line its rules, since October 13, 2018, his

name was not sent to the Senate for confirmation.
The governor said that this is the first time Nigeria is having an

acting CJN for the first time in its history despite that Justice

Onnoghen's name was sent to President Muhammadu Buhari early enough.

He said; “As at the time the NJC recommended Justice Onnoghen to

President Buhari, it was 28 clear days to the November 10, 2016

retirement date of Justice Mahmud Mohammed.
“Why then was his (Justice Onnoghen) name not sent to the Senate for

confirmation? Why appointing him as Acting CJN when his name should

have been sent to the Senate between October 13, 2016 that he was

recommended to the president and November 10, 2016 that Justice Mahmud

Mohammed retired?
“Obviously, there is more to this acting CJN appointment than meet the

eyes and in my opinion, it could be that President Buhari never wanted

Justice Onnoghen as a substantive CJN because he is from the

South-South or that they want to use his pending appointment as

substantive CJN to make him do their biddings.”

He lamented that "They have subdued the national assembly and are now

in the last stage of muscling democracy by subduing the judiciary.

"If men of good conscience, especially leading lights in the legal

profession refuse to raise their voices against this tyranny, they

will all be consumed by the tyrant."
Governor Fayose, who said playing politics with the judiciary,

especially at the CJN level was dangerous to the survival of

democracy, urged Justice Onnoghen to do his job without fear or

favour, “bearing in mind that it is only God that put people in

positions.”
“I am sure those who made sure Justice Onnoghen’s name was not sent to

the Senate for confirmation until the tenure of Justice Mahmud

Mohammed expired knew what they were doing. They obviously needed a

situation where the CJN, being in acting capacity will be subservient

to them, using his appointment as substantive CJN as bait.

“However, Justice Onnoghen must live above that temptation of wanting

to be the substantive CJN at the expense of strict adherence to the

rule of law and principles of democracy.
“He must resist any attempt to further gag the judiciary even if that

will cost him his appointment as the substantive CJN,” the governor

said.