One of Nigeria’s foremost lawyers, Chief Wole Olanipekun, OON, SAN, has kicked against the appointment of Chief Justices of the Federation, and Chief Judges of States, in acting capacities. The legal titan, who was the guest speaker at the Bar/Bench Forum held in Lagos as part of activities marking the commencement of the 2017/2018 Legal Year on Tuesday, October 10, 2017, said he was unaware of Sections 231 (4) and 271 (4) of the Nigerian Constitution which made provisions for the appointment of judges in such capacities.
According to Newswire’s Lagos correspondent, Olanipekun said such a practice was at odds with what obtained in other arms of government, i.e. the executive and the legislature, and wondered why it should be so in the Judiciary.
“Immediately upon the election of a President and a Governor at federal and state levels,” he stated, “and irrespective of whether or not any action is pending in court to challenge the election, the President or Governor is sworn in – not in an acting capacity – on the due date.” The same thing, he added, applies to Members of the two chambers of the National Assembly, and expressed the hope that the Constitution did not have the intent to create instability or uncertainty in an arm of government as sacred and as important as the Judiciary.
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