Eleven Justices of the Court of Appeal have been recommended for promotion to the Supreme Court by the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).
It needs to be confirmed by the Senate and then approved by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
According to The Nation, none of the nominees come from the legal or academic communities.
Olukayode Ariwoola, the CJN, requested the names of lawyers to be appointed to the Supreme Court from Yakubu Maikyau, the head of the Nigerian Bar Association, back in June.
In order to fill eight openings on the Supreme Court bench, Maikyau issued a request for expressions of interest from qualified solicitors.
Two vacancies were in the Southeast, one in the Southsouth, two in the Southwest, two in the NorthCentral, and one in the Northwest.
The NBA Secretariat requested an expression of interest from potential candidates by June 21st.
The FJSC, which Justice Ariwoola also chairs, has instead chosen from among existing Appeal Court judges rather than accepting candidates from the Bar.
There are six candidates from the Southeast, six from the North Central, four from the Northwest, two from the Southwest, and two from the South South and Northeast.
There are 22 Justices total, 11 of whom are considered to be top priority.
On October 27, Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammad retired, bringing the total number of Supreme Court Justices down to 10.
Nwaoma Uwa (Abia), Onyekachi Otisi (Abia State), Obande Ogbuinya (Ebonyi), Theresa Orji-Abadua (Imo), Anthony Ogakwu (Enugu), and Chioma Nwosu-lheme (Imo State) have all been nominated to serve as justices in the Southeast.
Moore Adumein (Bayelsa) is first in line for the south, followed by Biobele Georgewill (Rivers).
Southwest – Adewale Abiru (Lagos), priority and Olubunmi Oyewole (Osun), reserve.
Priority: Jummai Sankey from Plateau; Reserve: Muhammad Ibrahim Sirajo from Plateau; Priority: Stephen Adah from Kogi; Reserve: Ridman Maiwada Abdullahi from Nassarawa; Priority: Baba Idris from Niger; Reserve: Joseph Ikyegh from Benue.
Haruna Simon Tsammani (Bauchi) is the top pick for the Northeast, with Abubakar Talba (Adamawa) as a close second.
Abubakar Sadiq Umar (Kebbi), Justice Bello Aliyu (Zamfara), Abubakar Lawal Shuaibu (Jigawa), and Abdullahi Mahmud Bayero (Kano) are the four most prominent candidates for the northwest region.
It wasn’t the first time that prominent scholars and solicitors had their aspirations shattered for an appointment to the appeal court bench.
The National Bar Association (NBA) selected eight eminent solicitors for the Supreme Court in February 2017.
A plea to “nominate suitable candidates for appointment to the Supreme Court” had been made by then-CJN Walter Onnoghen.
Attorneys-at-law Olisa Agbakoba, Anthony Idigbe, Yunus Usman, Babatunde Fagbohunlu, Miannayaaja Essien, Awa Kalu, and others were among those nominated.
Unfortunately, none of them were chosen for a seat on the Supreme Court.
The NBA also released the names of 23 applicants for nomination to the appellate court in February of last year, but ultimately none of them were considered.
The late Taslim Elias, a dean and professor of law at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), was appointed to the Supreme Court after serving as Minister of Justice and Attorney-General from 1960 to 1966. He later became Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) from 1972 to 1975.