A Lagos-based lawyer, Malcolm Omirhobo, has prayed the court to determine whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari has the power to handpick a chief justice of federation based on his own whim.
Omirhobo’s suit before the Abuja Federal High Court is predicated on the president’s delay in appointing Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, currently acting, as substantive chief justice.
The plaintiff cites order 3, rule 6,7 and 9 of the Federal High Court civil procedure rules 2009 as basis for the court to determine the meaning ofSection 231 (1) (3) (4) and (5) of the 1999 constitution.
Omirhobo’s grounds are that whether the qualification, assessment and evaluation necessary for the appointment of the Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are the exclusive preserve of National Judicial Council, NJC.
He also wants the court to determine if the president is solely bound to act according to the recommendation of the NJC on who becomes the CJN. Above all, the lawyer is asking that the court compels the president to appoint Onnoghen as substantive chief judge and head of the Nigerian judiciary given his recommendation for the post by the NJC.
Other defendants in the suit are Abubakar Malami, attorney general and minister of justice of the federation, Justice Onnoghen, NJC, among others.