By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJA—The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi will, Thursday, December 31, 2009 swear-in Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu as the new Chief Justice of Nigeria.

On the same day, Kutigi will also swear-in Justice Isa Ayo Salami as the President of the Court of Appeal.
The Secretary of the National Judicial Council, Danladi Halilu made the disclosure yesterday vide a statement.

It would be recalled that the Federation Attorney-General, Chief Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) had at the weekend said President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua needed not fly from Saudi Arabia to perform the swearing in ceremony by himself.

He had said that the outgoing CJN is permitted under the the law to perform the function.
The National Judicial Council (NJC) had keyed into the explanation but Aondoakaa’s colleagues are saying that his explanation has no basis in law and logic.

According to an Ibadan based member of the inner bar, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), it would be strange if such was allowed to happen because such arrangement is not supported by both law and logic

He said: “The Attorney-General, like most Nigerian public officers, doesn’t have original thoughts of their own. They are not original in their thought. That position, with due respect, was not his own.

“The idea was sold by a lady lawyer. She sent an e-mail to Aondoakaa (SAN) to sell the idea. She forwarded the same e-mail to many of us, making that suggestion. I do not want to mention her name.

“The truth of the matter is that if you carry out that suggestion, you will be creating a kind of absurdity. Look at it this way: if the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) will be swearing in the incoming one, I ask: in what capacity?

‘If the incumbent swears-in the incoming one before the he retires, the implication is that we will be having two CJNs at the same time.

“And if the outgoing CJN swears in the incoming one immediately after he retires, he will be doing that in what capacity when he is no longer the CJN?

“They are confusing the American situation with ours. In the case of the Nigerian presidential system, the executive appoints the head of the court.

“It is a political appointment. And necessarily so, the CJN must be sworn in by the head of the executive. It is unlike the American situation where the entire public and members of the public are involved in who becomes the CJN and even who becomes a Supreme Court justice.

“Ours is a different scenario.”

Most of the times, our people swallow, hook, line and sinker, the ideas of foreign  governance without looking at the background and the position of the law in those areas.

“You will be creating a kind of unconscionable absurdity if you say the outgoing CJN should swear in the incoming one.
“The idea was suggested by a lady and the lady in question forwarded the e-mail he did to Andoakaa to me.

“The lady flew a kite which was swallowed hook line and sinker by the AGF.

“She sent it to many lawyers including Prof Sagay, Aturu, Femi Falana including President of the NBA. He sent it to many senior lawyers.

“The Attorney General was not original. The truth of the matter is that the country is mired in political quagmire.
“We have no head of the executive properly so called. And very soon, there will be no head of the judiciary. We can avoid this problem if Mr President has done the right thing to allow Jonathan to stand in,” he said.

In the meantime, the Secretary of the National Judicial Council, Danladi Halilu had issued a statement yesterday to the effect that the appointments were made by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on the recommendation of the NJC.

The swearing-in will take place at the Supreme Court’s complex at 11 O’clock in the morning.

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