Justice Aloma Mukhtar
The decision of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to step down the consideration of the Osun State’s nominees for appointment as the substantive Chief Judge (CJ) for the state may have thrown the state’s judiciary into confusion.
The state Judicial Service Commission had forwarded three nominees to the NJC for consideration, following the pending retirement of the outgoing CJ for the state, Justice Olaniyi Ojo.
The names of the three nominees are Justices Olaniyi Ojo, Gloria Olagoke and Joseph Oyewole.
But a source at the ongoing meeting of the NJC in Abuja told THISDAY last night that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mukhtar-led council had stepped down the consideration of the state nominees and demanded a new list on seniority basis.
The source added that the NJC only deliberated on the appointment of judges, saying that the council would take decision of the issue of the suspended President, Court of Appeal (JCA), Justice Isa Salami, today.
According to him, the council also considered the nominees for appointments of substantive CJs for some states including Adamawa, Nasarawa and Abia States.
The incumbent Osun State CJ, Justice Olaniyi Ojo, is due for retirement on November 8, 2012.
Justice Bola Ojo is the most senior judge in the state judiciary while Justice Gloria Olagoke is the current president of the state Customary Court of Appeal.
Justice Joseph Oyewole is a judge of the Lagos High Court in Ikeja but hails from Ila Oragun in Osun State.
But some stakeholders have argued that the action of the NJC in demanding for a new list based on seniority basis may lead to controversy as the two female nominees-Justices Ojo and Olagoke were appointed to the state Bench on the same date.
The associates of the two judges reportedly believed that none of them could step down for each other on the grounds that they were qualified for the post since they were appointed on the same date.
By asking the state to bring new list on new nominees on seniority basis, the stakeholders believe that the state may be in a fix on which criteria to use in selecting the new list.