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Monday, December 5, 2022

Agenda for CJN Ariwoola

THE senate recently confirmed the nomination of Justice Kayode Ariwoola as the 18th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (CJN). His confirmation followed a letter received on July 26, by the senate from President Muhammadu Buhari requesting for Ariwoola’s confirmation as the substantive CJN. The Hope notes that his confirmation was devoid of intrigues which greeted the ouster of former CJN Walter Onnoghen, and the appointment of CJN Tanko Mohammed.
IN June this year, 14 Justices of the Supreme Court took the unprecedented step in the apex Court’s 58-year history by addressing a joint petition to former CJN Tanko Mohammed which leaked out to the press, and lead to the unpleasant resignation of Justice Mohammed and ushering in Ariwoola. The justices apparently took the step following the failure of the departed CJN to respond to their needs.They complained of lack of vehicles for Supreme Court Justices, poor power supply, epileptic internet access to their offices, residences and chambers. They also lamented their poor remuneration upon which no judicial officer could survive without being corrupt.
WE welcome new CJN Ariwoola into the exalted position in the country’s judiciary and wish him all great successes and God’s speed. We are happy Justice Ariwoola was one of the authors of the petition sent to the former CJN.
THE onus is now on him to address all issues highlighted in the petition. Nigerians expect him to now walk the talk. He now has the opportunity and free atmosphere to face the problems of our troubled Third Arm of Government, especially the subjects raised by the Supreme Court Justices concerning the welfare and conditions of service of Justices. Supreme Court Justices should enjoy the same remuneration packages that Ministers and National Assembly members do.
ALL cadres of Judiciary workers should be comfortably provided for to enable them serve with integrity. One cannot expect hungry and disgruntled judges who cannot pay their rents or children’s school fees to remain above board in the performance of their duties.
JUSTICE Ariwoola should ensure a total and unfettered independence of the judiciary. He should see to the separation of Judiciary funding from the administrative or political control of other arms, especially the Executive at federal and state levels. Our Judiciary must be freed from having to dance to the tune of the proverbial piper. We strongly believe that only a well-funded and independent Judiciary is capable of adequately playing its constitutional role.
NO doubt, Justice Ariwoola’s appointment comes few months to the general election and some results at the polls would definitely lead to litigation starting from the Tribunals to the Supreme Court. We therefore beseech him to appoint judges of impeccable character to serve on the electoral panels. A situation whereby courts of coordinate jurisdiction give conflicting rulings and/or judgments in similar cases does not portray the judiciary in good light. Therefore, judges at the electoral panels should be monitored in order to ensure that justice is served appropriately.
THE time is now for a holistic and thorough reform of the judiciary to be carried out. Some Nigerian judges are generally perceived as liable to selling judgments to the highest bidders. We wish those officers are shown the way out of the bench. We feel that it is Ariwoola’s duty to clean up the mess and encourage capable lawyers of integrity to join the Bench.
SINCE every pronouncement of the Supreme Court is regarded as law, Justice Ariwoola should therefore ensure that the apex court is restored to its pride of place. The principle of separation of powers must apply at all times. It is incumbent on the CJN to warn judges to be above board. Any erring judge should be disciplined accordingly. This will go a long way in restoring the confidence in the judiciary.
We congratulate the new CJN on his new appointment and wish him well in his tour of duty.

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