Justice Walter Onnoghen
Justice Walter Onnoghen

RELIEF came the way of many Nigerians on Wednesday as the Senate listened to the voice of reason in confirming the appointment of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria. Many concerned Nigerians, especially those from Justice Onnoghen’s constituency, in the legal profession were quite vocal in what appeared to be an attempt to deny the Cross Riverborn judicial officer the chance to be confirmed as the head of the country’s Supreme Court. Instead of being sworn in as the substantive CJN, as it is the tradition, following the recommendation by the National Judicial Council, NJC, President Muhammadu Buhari gave him the nebulous title of acting Chief Justice of the Nigeria, the first time this would happen in the history of the judiciary in the country. This gave some concerned Nigerians cause to worry and, fuelling speculations that attempts were being made to deny a man from the southern part of the country the opportunity to be elevated to the position for the first time in almost 30 years. That incident was a bad advertisement for the Buhari-led government. The argument of those that believe in the country was that if President Olusegun Obasanjo, and later Goodluck Jonathan, who rose to the leadership of the country, and are southerners did not play game with the recommendations of NJC on their recommendations ,Buhari as a president from the northern part of the country should have taken cue from these leaders, who put the interest of this country above every other consideration. Thank God Justice Onnoghen has been confirmed as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, and it is one’s prayer that he will strive to ensure that the independence of the judiciary is not only maintained ,but jealously guided. The Senate and all those who made his confirmation a reality deserve the applause of Nigerians. May their tribe increase.


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