Politicisation Of CJN’s Appointment Is Dangerous, Unfortunate - Obono-Obla
The orchestrated personal attacks, innuendoes, accusations and allegations being levelled against President Muhammadu Buhari by some interest groups including some senior lawyers over his alleged delay in nomination of Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria is totally and completely misplaced and wrong.
The opportunistic and self-serving campaign by some senior lawyers and groups is regrettably and unacceptable.
I make bold to say that President Muhammadu Buhari has not violated any provision of the Constitution as far as the issue of the appointment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is concerned.
It is settled that Justice Ayo Salami was removed from office as President of the Court of Appeal on the 11th August 2011; late Justice Dalhatu Adamu was appointed Acting President of the Court of Appeal by then then President Goodluck Jonathan in August 2011.
He held the office of President of the Court of Appeal in an acting capacity for 15 over months.
After 15 months as Acting President of the Court of Appeal the name of late Justice Dalhatu was not eventually recommended and to President Jonathan for nomination as the substantive President Court of Appeal by the National Judicial Council; rather the name of Justice Zainab Bulkachawa was recommended by the National Judicial Council and sent by the then President Goodluck Jonathan to the Senate on the 19 March, 2014 for confirmation.
Before then, Justice Zainab Bulkachawa was appointed Acting President of the Court of Appeal by President Jonathan and was in office for almost one year before her name was sent to the Senate for confirmation as President of the Court of Appeal.
It follows that the Court of Appeal had an Acting President from August 2011 to March, 2014; where were these senior lawyers who are now giving the impression that there had never any precedence over the appointment of an acting appointment concerning senior judicial appointments in the country then?
Some of the senior lawyers who are vociferous in the condemnation of President Muhammadu Buhari now were then members of the National Judicial Council but they buried their heads inside ground like the ostrich!
It is misleading for these senior lawyers to create the impression that there has never been any precedence concerning the appointment of an Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
One time Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi was appointed Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria in January 2007 by then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo before he was eventually nominated and confirmed by the Senate!
Where were these senior lawyers who are unethically and unreasonably trying to politicise the appointment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
On the 9th September 2009, the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi (as he then was) sworn into office Honourable Justice Dantshoho Abutu (as then then was) as the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court after the retirement of then then Chief Judge, Honourable Justice Mustapha Abdullahi (as he then was) on the 4th September, 2009.
The appointment of Honourable Justice Dantshoho Abutu (as then then was) as Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court was okayed by the then late President Umaru Musa Yaradua.
Are these senior lawyers now trying to lie to us suffering from anaemia? Or are they simply mischievous?
In so many States of the Federation we had had these Acting appointments of Chief Judges of these States.
Presently in Enugu State, the Chief Judge is on acting capacity!
Gladly Honourable Justice Onnoghen has wisely and maturely issued a statement disassociating himself from these unwarranted and needless campaign and attacks on the person of President Buhari by these self-seeking and opportunistic meddlesome interlopers.
One would have expected these senior lawyers to meet and discuss with the learned Honourable Attorney General of the Federation or even the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the matter (who is also a senior lawyer and much respected voice in the country legal circles) but they are unfortunately and busy grandstanding and trying to further desecrate the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria by politicising it!