Justice Ayo Salami bows out on Tuesday as S’Court judges battle to succeed him

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Justice-Ayo-SalamiFIVE days to the formal exit of the suspended substantive President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami, uncertainty still governs the choice of successor-in-office, Nigerian Tribune has reliably gathered.

He would clock the mandatory retirement age of 70 years on Tuesday, October, 15, 2013.

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The National Judicial Council (NJC) under the leadership of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu suspended Salami for misconduct on August 18, 2011 and was never returned to office despite his reinstatement by the council under the chairmanship of Katsina-Alu’s successor-in-office, Justice Dahiru Musdapher on May 10, 2012.

The most senior justice of the court, Justice Dalhatu Adamu acted for 15 months before the incumbent acting PCA, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa took over on November 23, 2013.

Nigerian Tribune learnt from system sources that though the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) had recommended the three most senior justices of the Court of Appeal to the National Judicial Council (NJC) as is the custom, it had been confirmed that no decision had been taken on the final choice which would be communicated to the president for eventual appointment.

Those nominated included Dalhatu and Bulkachuwa.

The rating favoured Bulkachuwa who was junior to Dalhatu.

Dalhatu was transferred out of the court’s headquarters in Abuja to head the Kaduna division when he was replaced with Bulkachuwa.

In the rating which was revealed to the Nigerian Tribune by a system source, Adamu was rated as qualified for the job by seniority but could only work under supervision.

He once worked under the supervision of the current Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar when both were in Ibadan division of the Court of Appeal.

Bulkachuwa was reportedly rated as qualified by ability to work with minimal or no supervision.

The third nominee was also said to have the ability to work under minimal supervision.

The recommendation to the council could possibly dim Adamu’s chances of securing the job on permanent basis.

Bulkachuwa’s involvement at the initial stage of the Sokoto governorship election petition that snowballed into a major crisis in the judiciary leading to Salami’s suspension, is said to make her unattractive for the job, for many council members.

She was severally petitioned and investigated by the council for her role in the alleged unethical conducts in the handling of appeals arising from the tribunal.

Those insisting on a fresh beginning for the court are said to be eyeing Justice M.L Garba from Zamfara State who is said to be number seven on the succession list.

He is said to be known as upright judge, though being junior in hierarchy could pose a problem for those pushing his candidacy.

He was Chief Judge of Zamfara in 1996 and appointed to the Court of Appeal on September 22, 2004.

He is to retire on November 16, 2028.

Another group within the system is said to be pushing for what is known in the judicial circle as the Mamman’s solution, which saw Justice Mamman Nasir of the then Supreme Court being appointed as the PCA.

Names of certain junior justices of the apex court are already being bandied around as potential appointees for the PCA job.

One of such names is Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, though being female could also count against her as some forces are pushing to stop another female justice emerging as substantive head of the second most senior court in the land, with the CJN being female too.

It is one of the issues against Bulkachuwa too, though a source disclosed that she is certain to continue in acting capacity when Salami bows out on Tuesday.

TRIBUNE

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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