June 29, 2022

Acting CJN, Ariwoola born in 1954, not 1958 — S’Court clarifies

Acting CJN, Ariwoola born in 1954, not 1958 — S’Court clarifies

Olukayode Ariwoola

By Ise-Oluwa Ige, ABUJA

The Supreme Court has cleared the air on the purported inconsistency in the age record of the newly sworn in Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.

On the official website of the Supreme Court, Justice Ariwoola was born in Iseyin, Oyo state, on August 22, 1958 and began his primary education in 1959 at the Local Authority Demonstration School, Oluwole, in his hometown.

Specifically, the details on the website suggested that he was less than one year when he began his primary education.

But the Director of Information of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Dr Festus Aweneri told Vanguard that the jurist was born in 1954 and not 1958 and that he started his primary school education in 1959.

He exhibited the resume in the official record of the Supreme Court in respect of the jurist to douse the tension raised.

It would be recalled that less than 24 hours after he was sworn into office as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), there were rumours that Justice Olukayode Ariwoola might have entered into a scandal of age falsification.

But the resume which emerged from the official record of the Supreme Court on the issue said the CJN was born on the 22nd of August 1954 in Oke Ogun Area of Oyo state, and commenced his education at Local Authority Demonstration Primary School from 1959 to 1966, from whence he moved to Muslim Modern School from 1967 to 1969.

According to the resumè, he had University education at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) between 1977 and 1980, and then proceed to the Nigeria Law School in 1980.

Ariwoola was called to Bar in July, 1981.

In the meantime, Vanguard had earlier reported that the official website of the Supreme Court is sometimes replete with errors

Justice Ariwoola’s name was submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari to replace Justice Tanko Muhammad who resigned his appointment on Monday.

He emerged the successor of Tanko in line with the age-long tradition at the bench to the effect that when the incumbent head of court vacates office either by reason of death, retirement, resignation or sack, the most senior judge takes over.

The tradition is to ensure predictability and zero rancour in the bench on issue of succession.

Justice Ariwoola who took his oath of office on Monday is expected to serve in acting capacity for a maximum of three months until confirmation by the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the National Assembly.

At the swearing-in ceremony in the presidential villa, the acting CJN swore to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In the meantime, some northern justices were said to be against his appointment on the ground that the 68-year-old is allegedly battling health issues.

They alleged that the illness might affect Ariwoola’s performance as the leader of the supreme court just as it affected the immediate past CJN.

The next in hierarchy to him, Musa Dattijo Muhammad, is also said to be very ill and had just had a surgery.

The nature of the ailments is not publicly known.

Vanguard News Nigeria