The acting Chief Justice of Nigerian (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad on Saturday in Abuja, carried out his first official duty when he sworn-in chairmen and members of the election petition tribunals for the 2019 general selections, but without other justices of the Supreme Court around him.
He reminded those sworn in that the nation’s judiciary was in the trying time and judicial officers must stand to protect and uphold the integrity of the judicial arm of government.
The acting CJN, who sworn-in the 250 members of election tribunal 24 hours after he was sworn-in by President Muhammadu Buhari, had only Justice Sidi Bage , one out of the 17 Supreme Court judges present during the ceremony.
No explanation was offered for the absence of others.
Justice Muhammad was sworn in on Friday in Abuja as the acting CJN following the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen on the strength of an exparte motion obtained from the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
The 250 members would sit on the 2019 Election Panels inside the Chambers of the Supreme Court Headquarters in Abuja.
The Panels comprise: National Assembly Election Petition Tribunals, Governorship Election Petition Tribunals, and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunals.
Justice Muhammad charged members of the tribunals to abide by the oath of office they took, saying that: “The oath is a solemn appeal to the Almighty God.
“Therefore, it is from this oath that your duties and responsibilities as chairmen and members of the election petition tribunals in your various places of assignment spring forth and has a binding effect”, the acting CJN stated.
He admonished members of the tribunals to discharge their duties diligently and with the fear of God.
He urged them to consider their appointment to serve on the election petition tribunals as a call to greater service to the nation.