Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Akoka, Prof. Akin Oyebode, Monday, berated President Muhammadu Buhari over the delay in sending the name of Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation as substantive CJN, saying the continued delay is unacceptable.
Recall that Onnoghen was appointed the Acting CJN on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 and sworn in by President Buhari on Thursday, November 10, 2016, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, as Ag. CJN, pending the forwarding of his name to the Senate for substantive confirmation.
Prof. Oyebode, who spoke on Channels TV breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, said it was unprecedented in the history of the country to have an Acting CJN, saying, the delay by President Buhari, in sending Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation was another albatross on his neck.
Oyebode, said it was not the prerogative of Buhari to reject Onnoghen as substantive CJN, but the Senate.
However, against the backdrop of conspiracy theories that President Buhari refused to send Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation because he (Onnoghen) was from the South-South and also a Christian, the don urged President Buhari “not to look at whether Onnoghen is facing Jerusalem (a Christian) or facing Meccah (a Muslim).
He asked the President to listen to wise counsels from his Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who are themselves lawyers, adding that “President Buhari would be shooting himself in the foot if he continues to delay sending Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive CJN.”
However, earlier, Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina, who appeared on the breakfast show, had debunked allegations that President Buhari refused to send Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation as substantive CJN, because he (Onnoghen) was from the South-South or a Christian.
Adesina, however, said the law stipulates that Onnoghen could only be Ag. CJN for three months, adding that the period was yet to be elapsed.
Adesina urged Nigerians to be patient with President Buhari, noting that Onnoghen’s name would definitely be sent to the Senate for confirmation as substantive CJN.