Onnoghen, 2 Others Shortlisted for Consideration as Chief Justice of Nigeria
The process of determining the next Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) gathered momentum on Wednesday following the meeting of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).
The FJSC at its meeting on Wednesday shortlisted three candidates for consideration to replace the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed.
The names of the three persons forwarded to the National Judicial Council at the end of the meeting are: Justice Walter Onnoghen, Justice Tanko Muhammad, and Justice Suleiman Galadima.
Punch reports that the 3 candidates so shortlisted are presently the next three most senior Justices of the Supreme Court after the incumbent Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Muhammad.
For many weeks, there have been indications that Justice Onnoghen is favoured to become the most senior judicial officer in the country even though there have been speculations that there was a plan to ditch him for someone from the north.
By reason of his position as the next in rank to the current CJN and the tradition of succession arrangement that has been in place for many years, Justice Onnoghen is ordinarily expected to clinch the position but the speculations are equally worth considering.
Some have argued that there were persons within the presidency pushing for the abandonment of the succession arrangement in order to pave way for the emergence of a northerner as the CJN.
Justice Onnoghen hails from Okurike in the Biase local government area of Cross River state and was born in 1950. He was appointed to the Supreme Court bench in 2005.
Coming after him on the ranking is Justice Tanko Muhammad who was born on December 31, 1953 at Doguwa-Giade, Giade local government area of Bauchi State. He was appointed to the Supreme Court bench on January 7, 2007.
The other candidate, Justice Suleiman Galadima was born in 1946 in Nasarawa State but was however appointed to the Supreme Court bench only in 2010, five years after Justice Onnoghen was so appointed.
Members of the legal community are watching with bated breath to see whose name will be forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for appointment as the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The Nigerian Senate must also however approve the appointment before it can become valid.
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