Buhari swears-in Ariwoola as Acting CJN


From Victor Osula, Abuja


Acting Justice Olukayode Ariwoola and President Buhari after the swearing -in of the former at the residential villa, Abuja on Monday


Allowing for no vacancy, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday administered the oath of office on Justice Olukayode Ariwoola as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, in replacement of Justice Tanko Mohammed who reigned as Chief Justice of the Federation on Monday. Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The 62-year-old Ariwoola would assume office in acting capacity until his appointment is confirmed by the Senate.

CJN Mohammed reportedly resigned on grounds of poor health though it is possible that the leaked petition by 14 Supreme Court Justices alleging financial mismanagement and poor welfare under him may have quickened his exit. Though he denied any allegation of lack of transparency and accountability under his headship, human rights lawyer and former Chairman of the Nigeria Human Rights Commission, Professor Chidi Odinkalu thinks otherwise. According to Odinkalu, the Constitution does not allow a CJN to resign on grounds of ill health but to retire.

He suggested that something was out of place since Justice Mohammed was in his 60s and had not attained the mandatory retirement age of 70 years allowed for Justices of the apex court. Alluding to the petition of the 14 Justices, he described Mohammed’ reign as a low one for the apex court and urged the acting Justice Ariwoola to address the allegation of transparency under Mohammed.

Odinkalu’s observation is on mark when because Justice Ariwoola is said to have been one of the 14 Justices that petitioned the former CJN over lack of welfare.