There are allegations that Buhari hasn't sent the name of the CJN to the Senate for confirmation.
This is following the retirement of Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who attained the mandatory retirement age of 70 years on Wednesday, November 9, 2016.
A source who also spoke to ThisDay, revealed that Justice Onnoghene next in line to be CJN, in accordance with the provisions of Section 230 (4) of the 1999 Constitution, which says “If the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is vacant or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office, then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office, or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, the president shall appoint the most senior justice of the Supreme Court to perform those functions.”
The source also said Section 231 (1) explicitly provides: “The appointment of a person to the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate.”
According to ThisDay, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Shehu Garba said “An acting CJN will be sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari at 2.00 pm Thursday."
Adding that “The Attorney-General of the Federation will present the person to the president tomorrow for swearing-in.”
Reports say the National Judicial Council (NJC) had earlier submitted the names of three judges to Buhari.
This is also the first time a CJN will be appointed in an acting capacity, reports say.
There are indications that the President is yet to send the name of the CJN to the Senate for confirmation, thereby raising fears of a vacuum.
On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, screened Justice Sidi Dauda Bage and Justice Paul Adamu Galinje, two of Buhari's nominees who are expected to serve on the Supreme Court bench.