A former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani- Kayode, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to transmit the name of Justice Samuel Walter Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation as Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, saying the action would ease tension in the country.
The former Minister said the appointment of Onnoghen as substantive CJN would probably be the most important decision that the President may have made since he came to power almost two years ago.
He warned that failure by Buhari to send Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation would portend long-term and far-reaching consequences, adding that it would be a weakening of what is already a fast-eroding spirit and ethos of national unity.
The Supreme Court Justice started acting as CJN in November and by the end of this week, his tenure, if not confirmed, will lapse.
Fani-Kayode, in a statement, yesterday, said Buhari could not afford to get this one wrong if he really wanted to keep Nigeria as one indivisible country and if he had any respect left for the people of the south.
In a statement titled, ‘Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen, Col. Abubakar Umar and the prospects of a Southern Chief Justice of the Federation’, the former spokesperson for ex- President Goodluck Jonathan’s Campaign Organisation, warned that if Onnoghen was not confirmed by February 10, his nomination would lapse, would cease to be Acting CJN and retire from the Bench, just as he said that the next in line for the position of CJN after him would be a northerner, adding that once the northerner is nominated by the National Judicial Council, his name would likely be transmitted to the Senate for confirmation by the President.
“To enhance the confirmation or ensure the non-confirmation of the Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, as the substantive Chief Justice of the Federation is probably the most important decision that President Muhammadu Buhari has to make since he came to power almost two years ago”, he stated.
“If he gets it wrong and refuses to send the Acting Chief Judges name to the Senate for confirmation there will be long-term and far-reaching consequences, the first of which will be a weakening of what is already a fast-eroding spirit and ethos of national unity.
“If he gets it right and sends the name to the Senate for confirmation it will go a long way to ease the palpable and existing tension in the land and it will be a good first step towards restoring and enhancing national unity”.