Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed will likely replace Justice Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), as he is the next most senior jurist on the apex court bench, if the incumbent is compelled to vacate his office.
The Federal Government has concluded and perfected plans to dock Onnoghen before the Justice Danladi Umar-led Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja on Monday (today), even as it has prepared a motion for the tribunal to compel him to vacate his office to concentrate on clearing himself of the criminal allegations against him.
The application dated January 11, was signed by two senior lawyers at the CCB, Musa Ibrahim Usman and Fatima Danjuma Ali.
The motion, if granted, will see the replacement of Justice Onnoghen with Justice Mohammed.
Mohammed began his career in 1982 after he was called to the bar in 1981, the same year he graduated from the Nigerian Law School.
In 1989, he was appointed as Chief Magistrate of the High Court of Federal Capital Territory, a position he held till 1991, when he became a Judge at the Bauchi State Sharia Court of Appeal.
He served in that capacity for two years, before he was appointed to the bench of the Nigerian courts of appeal as Justice in 1993. He held this position for 13 years, before he was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 2006, but was sworn in on January 7, 2007 – the appointment he holds till date.
Onnoghen was to retire in December 2020, before being replaced Mohammed, whose tenure would have ran from December 2020 to December 31, 2023.
Justice Onnoghen saw his appointment suffer unprecedented delay by President Muhammadu Buhari over undisclosed issues.
He may now become the first CJN in the annals of Nigeria to be arraigned for criminal charges by the government.
Why the Cabals want to remove CJN Walter Onnoghen
The Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen has come under FG radar and will be docked in the CCT’s accused box on Monday. The FG accused the Justice of irregularities in his asset declaration. Recall that the last high profile case handled by the CCT was against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, where-in the case was quashed for having no substance and basing its findings on hearsays. Onnoghen who upheld the verdict of the court, has today come under investigation and further litigation by the code of conduct Bureau.
Following the inability of the ruling APC to secure the interest of Nigerians ahead of the 2019 polls, the ruling APC has resorted to rigging plans and also seeking legal backings for them. While the rigging plans are in full force with the recent appointment of Amina Zakari as head of collation, the APC-led FG also needs legal backing for their plans to fully materialize. This is the reason why they have turned on Justice Onnoghen, who has been a clog in the wheels of their nefarious activities.
Upon this, lots of legal luminaries have volunteered to help the embattled Justice win the case. The cabals have however picked a favorite; Justice Tanko Muhammad, as the next Chief Justice of the Federation if their plans fall through.