New CJN in age falsification controversy

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Justice Olukayode Ariwoola

On Monday, Olukayode Ariwoola was sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, following the resignation of Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, on health grounds.

Ariwoola is expected to serve in acting capacity until confirmation by the National Judicial Council 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, and particularly on the date at which he began school.

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

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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.

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 63-year-old is 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.