*CJN position next to God
*I will adhere to rule of law, says CJN
Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday described Justice Walter Onnoghen as the right choice for the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). He also said the CJN position, in terms of relevance to the needs and desires of the country and Nigerians, makes him rank only next to God.
The Acting President made the remarks during his inauguration of Onnoghen as Nigeria’s 17th CJN at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Shortly after taking his oath of office, Osinbajo also decorated Onnoghen with the second highest national honours of the Grand Commander of Order of the Niger (GCON).
Osinbajo said, “From this day 7th March, 2017, Justice Onnoghen becomes the custodian and protector of the highest duties that society owes its people, fairness, Justice and truth. The responsibility is an awesome one. It is the closest that man serves as the Almighty God having powers of lives, livelihoods and futures, having power to give and indeed to take away power, and authority to supervise all men and women to whom our law and constitution have given the position of judgeship.
“Since we do not force men and women to be judges, they voluntarily take on the position of high priests in the temple of Justice. They will of course be held to a much higher standard, a much higher moral and ethical standard than the rest of us. They must not only be seen to be just they must be just indeed. The mere perception of judicial malfeasance poisons the waters of Justice let alone the reality. While delays in the administration of justice often defeats the ends of Justice.
”My Lord, you assume this position at a crucial time in the history of our nation, it is a time when all arms of government have suffered the loss confidence of the people of this nation and is so also with the judiciary. It is a time when our Lords and Justices of our courts are called upon to resuscitate that confidence that the people of this nation want to have in the institutions of government and indeed in the judiciary
“I pray that your tenure will revive and sustain that confidence.
”Yesterday, I had a discussion with President Buhari, not only did he extend his personal warm wishes and congratulations, he asked that I personally convey that to you, and I do so now. I congratulate you on behalf of Mr. President, all members of your family and the entire judiciary.
“I believe that the choice that the people of this nation have made is a right choice indeed and I pray that you will leave up to all of the expectations deed, I pray that the almighty God will guide and direct you as you deliver on all of the promises and expectations of the people of this nation”, he said.
In his remarks, Onnoghen promised to lead the judiciary and ensure the independence of the arm of government.
He urged all to adhere strictly to the rule of law.
He solicited the continued cooperation from all the Justices of the Supreme Court.
He said he was pleased to have kept this appointment with history.
The CJN who expressed his gratitude to God, President Buhari and to the Senate for finding him worthy.
He said he sees his appointment as a privilege, adding that he enjoyed the screening done by Senate to enable him occupy the number five citizen of the country.
Onnoghen pledged to keep to the oath he has sworn to, adding: “I solicit the cooperation of everybody, there are three arms of government and these three arms belong to the same government. We should explore areas of cooperation to enable us move the country forward.
“On my part as the head of the judiciary, I assure you that from the past experience, the key to everything in a democratic setting is adherence to the rule of law. There lies the solution to our problems. Let us try to encourage the independence of the judiciary so as to ensure the rule of law. If everyone realise that they are subject to the rule of law and that there are certain things that are tackled according to the rule of law and behave accordingly, it will benefit all of us”, he said.
The CNJ continuing also urged Nigerians not to relent in praying for the nation. He said, “And to Nigerians of all works of life, of all faith, who have kept faith with this, who had prayed without ceasing, some had even fasted, I say thanking very much. I urge you to continue to pray for this country because if you notice there has been peace. All those pressure that was mounting everything just died down and that is to the glory of God. I’m eternally grateful to Nigerians.
“To my family, justices of the Supreme Court, your cooperation has been unquantifiable and I solicit your cooperation so as to be able to carry out this assignment. To God almighty I say thank you”.
The inauguration was witnessed by the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; former CJNs members of the Federal Executive Council; Justices of the Supreme Court and his family members among others.