BY OBUTE JAMES
The Presidency has nominated Justice Walter Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN.
The decision was announced on the twitter handle of the Presidency @NGRPresident on Wednesday.
“Hon. Justice W.S. Onnoghen’s name has been sent to the Senate for confirmation as the next CJN,” the tweet said with an accompanying link to Mr. Onnoghen’s biography on the Supreme Court website.
The announcement came four months after Mr. Onnoghen was first recommended to Mr. Buhari as the next head of the country’s judiciary.
The delay would have triggered an automatic constitutional provision that could block the president from proceeding with the nomination process by February 10.
Buhari had on November 10 2016 named Onnoghen, the most senior justice of the Supreme Court, as acting CJN, in line with recommendation by the NJC. This followed the retirement of Justice Mahmud Mohammed at the statutory age of 70.
The jurist will now await a confirmation by the Senate to assume duty as substantive chief judge. Although the Senate is on recess till February 21, an emergency sitting could be called to ensure early resolution of the controversy.
There was no official response from the Senate in respect of this development as of the time of writing this report.