Justice Maryam Aloma-Mukhtar is set to make history as the first female chief justice of Nigeria (CJN) as President Goodluck Jonathan has concluded plans to forward her name to the Senate for confirmation.
A source close to the presidency confided in LEADERSHIP that President Jonathan would forward Mukhtar’s name to the senate for consideration in line with the recommendation of the out-going CJN, Dahiru Musdapher.
The source added that the president would forward the letter on Mukhtar’s nomination as CJN-designate, once he returns from Brazil.
Musdapher had, on April 11, forwarded his notice of retirement to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) and also nominated Aloma Mukhtar the next most senior Supreme Court justice to replace him when he retires on July 15 this year.
A source at the Senate said that members of the upper chamber were also waiting for a letter from Jonathan seeking the approval of Aloma Mukhtar to replace Musdapher as the next CJN.
But there are palpable fears amongst some stakeholders in the judiciary that Jonathan and some hawks within the presidency may stop her from becoming the next CJN on the grounds that she is considered too tough and independent-minded to manipulate.
The development was sequel to the fact that certain powerful elements within the presidency allegedly influenced her appointment as chief justice of Gambia, which she quietly turned down without giving reasons to avoid controversy and crisis of confidence reminiscent of the saga involving ex-CJN Aloysious Katsina-Alu and suspended Appeal Court President Justice Isa Salami.
Besides, Justice Musdapher had, on November 10, 2011, bared his thoughts on the expected reforms in the judiciary, saying that justices of the Supreme Court should hold their appointments for a lifetime as obtained in the United States.