Law News
Next Female CJN Expected in 2023


With the mandatory retirement of the first female Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, on Thursday, THISDAY investigation has revealed that it will take the country another nine years to have another female CJN.

Presently, there are three female justices at the Supreme Court. They are Justices Kudirat Motonmori Olatokunbo Kekere-Ekun, Clara Ogunbiyi and Mary Odili.
Further investigation revealed that if the succession-by-seniority arrangement is not altered only Kekere-Ekun could be favoured to become the nation’s CJN by January 1, 2024, Ogunbiyi and Odili might be caught up by the mandatory 70-year retirement age.

Kekere-Ekun, representing Lagos State, is expected to succeed Justice Tanko Mohammed, who will be 70 years on December 31, 2023.

Tanko, by seniority, is expected to succeed Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, who will be the most senior justice of the apex court by Friday, when Justice Mohammed

Mahmud would have taken over as the new CJN.

Mahmud, who will clock the retirement age of 70 years on November 10, 2016, will face senate screening and confirmation tomorrow.

Onnoghen is to take over on November 11, 2016 and retire on December 22, 2020.
Tanko is expected to succeed Onnoghen on December 23, 2020 and hold the office till December 31, 2023.

Ten justices of the court, who are Kekere-Ekun’s senior, would be caught by the retirement age in-between the CJNship of Mahmud, Onnoghen and Tanko, who are the three most senior in the court.

Those that would be affected by having younger colleagues as their senior are the two other female justices of the court, Ogunbiyi and Odili.

While Ogunbiyi will be 70 on February 27, 2018 under Onnoghen’s headship, Odili will bow out in May 2022 under the headship of Tanko.

Other justices of the apex court that are Kekere-Ekun’s senior, but not on CJN’s line are Justices Muntaka Coomasie, who will leave next year; John Fabiyi, who will exit on November 25, 2015; Suleiman Galadima, who will be 70 in October 2016 and Olabode Rhodes-Viviour, who is expected to bow out on March 22, 2021.

Others include Justices Wali Sylvester Nguta, who retires in 2021, Kayode Ariwoola, Musa Datijo Muhammad and Kumai Bayang Akaahs, who leaves on December 12, 2019.

Kekere-Ekun is expected to be CJN for about four years and four months, retiring on May 7, 2028, when she would be 70 years.

If Onnoghen makes it as CJN in about two years, he would be the first Southern CJN in 28 years.

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