Supreme court says acting CJN was born in 1954 — NOT 1958 - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Wednesday 29 June 2022

Supreme court says acting CJN was born in 1954 — NOT 1958


Supreme court says acting CJN was born in 1954 — NOT 1958

On Monday, following the resignation of Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, Olukayode Ariwoola was sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari as the acting chief justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Ariwoola is expected to serve in acting capacity until confirmation by the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the national assembly.

At the swearing-in ceremony in the presidential villa, the acting CJN swore to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the federal government, as well as defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

However, fresh questions have been raised over the credentials of Ariwoola, particularly on the date on which he began school.


Ariwoola was born in Iseyin, Oyo state, on August 22, 1958, according to information on the website of the supreme court.

The date of birth has now been edited and deleted, replaced by “he was born over 60 years ago”.

The site said he began his primary education less than a year later in 1959 at the Local Authority Demonstration School, Oluwole, in his hometown. He would spend eight years in school before graduating in 1967.

He then moved to Muslim Modern School in the same town from 1968 to 1969 before graduating to Ansar-Ud-Deen high school, Saki area of Oyo, for secondary education.

He earned his law degree from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1980, and a year later he was called to the Nigerian bar and got enrolled as a solicitor and advocate of the supreme court.


Festus Akande, the spokesperson of the supreme court, however, said that the acting CJN was born in 1954.

Akande told TheCable that there is no “disparity” in the age of Ariwoola, while he also shared his curriculum vitae.

“There is no disparity and I don’t know where those people got that information from,” he said.

Responding to whether the site was edited, Akande said: “Not at all. It has never been so. How can they do that?”

According to section 291 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended), a Supreme Court judge is expected to retire at the age of 70.

If Ariwoola was born in 1958, he would have served as the CJN — if confirmed by the senate — from 2022 to 2028. But being born in 1954 means the justice will only serve as the head of the apex court from 2022 to 2024.

Afe Babalola, a senior advocate of Nigeria, had, in April 2021, advocated for the retirement age of supreme court justices to be increased from 70 to 100. Thomas Okpoko, another senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), rejected the call.


Before Ariwoola was sworn in to his new role, insiders within the apex court told TheCable that some northern justices were against his appointment on the grounds that the 67-year-old is allegedly battling health issues.

They alleged that the illness might affect Ariwoola’s performance as the leader of the supreme court just as it did the immediate past CJN.

The next in hierarchy to him, Musa Dattijo Muhammad, is also said to be very ill and had just returned from a surgery.

The nature of the ailments is not publicly known.

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