Friday, January 6, 2017

Islamists at cross-roads on confirmation of CJN

Two of the key points in the infamous 1989 OIC Abuja Declaration which the Islamists power brokers behind the current administration in Nigeria are obviously following to the letter are:
·         "Ensure the ultimate replacement of all western forms of legal and judicial systems with the Sharia in all member nations before the next "Islam in Africa conference."
·         "Ensure the appointment of only Muslims into strategic national and international posts of member nations."
The on-going drama and dilly-dallying by the Presidency to confirm a non-moslem as the Number 1 Judicial Officer in the country, the Chief Justice of the Federation, is therefore not surprising.  Actually, in some sense, it is amusing.
As we have been highlighting in the past few editions, apparently hard-core Islamists who have extra-ordinary leverage on the President, have thrown all decorum aside as they stack virtually all government appointments with not just muslims, but muslims from their particular clique and clan.
The ensuing national uproars included bitter complaints even from the wife of the President herself!   Now at this inauspicious moment where there is intense national and international attention directed at the nature of appointments in Nigeria, the critical vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice (CJ) opened up.  The never-for-once breached tradition demands that the most senior judge in line of succession be appointed.  But this time around, the candidate is not just a non-moslem, he is also from the south.  According to records, the last time a southerner occupied the office (Ayo Irikefe) was in 1985.  Even though the Nigerian Judicial Council had duly nominated Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, as early as 10th October 2016, the Presidency did not follow-up on the nomination, till almost the last second when, to avert a constitutional crisis, Onnoghen was announced acting Chief Justice.  And even now, since that 3-month appointment in acting capacity in November was announced, there is still no move from the Presidency to request confirmation of the appointment by the Senate.
But with the heat already on the Islamists, especially with intense strategizing for 2019 elections ongoing, by-passing the qualified Christian candidate for some muslim candidate (like was done in the case of the Inspector General of Police, for instance) is not an easy option at all, this time around.  All the world is watching with amusement what card the Islamists will play next.  The tenure of the acting CJ ends early February, and by that time, the Presidency is under obligation to either have put him up for confirmation or give reasons why that would not be done.  The Islamists are in a cul-de-sac.
In recent past, the Islamists behind PMB had, (grudgingly, as it were) allowed some qualified non-moslem candidate into strategic office – but only in acting capacity till a suitable moslem replacement was groomed. This happened in the appointment of the Chief of Defence Intelligience, in July; and  the same interpretation could be given to the changes that saw the non-moslem Group MD of the strategic NNPC became “promoted” out of that position which he had been allowed to occupy whilst apparently a suitable sharia-compliant candidate was being groomed to take over. Can the Islamists afford to break their own record of impunity in public appointment by stepping down the acting CJ for a moslem candidate? Only a few weeks more, and we’ll see!  Read more at:

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