Buhari Yet To Appoint New CJN As Justice Mohammed Bows Out

By Ikenga Chronicles November 7, 2016

Buhari Yet To Appoint New CJN As Justice Mohammed Bows Out

Legal luminaries at the weekend poured encomium on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN)Justice Mahmoud Mohammed as he bows out of the bench on Wednesday having attained the statutory age of 70.

With less than 48-hours left for Mahmud Mohammed to retire, the time to appoint a successor is fast running out for President Muhammadu Buhari as he is yet to forward the name of his nominee to the Senate for clearance.

Going by convention, the most senior justice has always been appointed CJN. In this regard, Justice Onnoghen is favoured to emerge as the next CJN.

However, in law, the president is not bound to accept his nomination. He also cannot bypass the council in making the appointment.

If for any reason, the president does not want to appoint the recommended justice, he is at liberty to ask the NJC to recommend to him another suitable candidate for the office.

A source at the Senate revealed that the Senate president was yet to receive any letter from the president regarding the appointment of a new CJN.

For the two years Mahmud held sway as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, his tenure witnessed an unprecedented corruption exposé on the bench as no fewer than 15 of his colleagues were allegedly embroiled in the corruption web.

Before October 7 when the Department of State Security Services(DSS) in a sting operation, arrested seven judges including two Supreme Court Justices following their alleged involvement in corrupt practices, sundry
allegations of corruption had dogged the judiciary.

Justice has been for the highest bidder if emerging revelations on judges under investigation for bribery and corruption are anything to go by.

The CJN made history as seven judges were suspended in a swoop for corrupt practices in his tenure while 10 others are been investigated by the Economic and Financial Commission(EFCC)on sundry allegations of bribery and corruption.

24 months after, lawyers at the weekend appraised Justice Mohammed’s tenure as he will on Wednesday bid the bench farewell following the attainment of the mandatory retirement age of 70.

However, notwithstanding lawyers’ divided views on his achievements in the last two years, they all described Justice Mohammed as a judge of judges, blunt individual, who will be remembered as a thorough judge with over three decades of unblemished judicial record.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Malam Yusuf Ali, described Justice Mohammed as a ‘quintessential jurist’.

Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) Monday Ubani was not different. He said the outgoing CJN had brought some level of sanity to the judiciary.

Ubani said: “The man has done well especially on the issue of punishing erring judges. I think the man was bold enough even as the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to expose his fellow judges who are corrupt.

‘’I think he has tried in the process of sanitizing the judiciary of corrupt judges. So, I hold him in high esteem. He is retiring as a man without any blemish and as someone who is leaving the judiciary better than he met it”.

“Besides, his tenure as the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC) has been very remarkable. There were lots of disciplinary measures taken against erring judges.”

He was on November 20, 2014 sworn-in as the Chief Justice of the Federation. He succeeded Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar who retired same day having attained the mandatory retirement age of 70 years stipulated for Supreme Court Justices under the Constitution.

Justice Mohammed was born on November 10, 1946 in Jalingo, Jalingo Local Government Area of Taraba State. His father, Mamman Maikato Bakin Kasuwa Jalingo, was a timber dealer while his mother, Aishatu Mamman of Garkin Dogo Village was into petty trading.