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Justice Olukayode Ariwoola GCON: The Life and Career of Nigeria's Chief Justice

After graduating from the University of Ife, Ariwoola was called to the Nigerian bar and enrolled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria as a Solicitor and A
Olukayode Ariwoola GCON

Justice Olukayode Ariwoola GCON is a renowned Nigerian jurist who currently serves as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). He was born on August 22, 1954, in Iseyin, Oyo State, Nigeria. His exceptional career in the Nigerian judiciary spans over three decades, during which he has served in various capacities as a judge, lawyer, and legal consultant.

Early Life and Education

Ariwoola started his primary education at the Local Authority Demonstration School, Oluwole, Iseyin local government area of Oyo State. He then proceeded to Muslim Modern School in the same town from 1968 to 1969 before attending Ansar-Ud-Deen High School Shaki, Oyo State, where he completed his high school education.

After completing his high school education, he gained admission to the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile Ife, Osun State, where he obtained his Bachelor's degree in Law (LLB).

Legal Career

After graduating from the University of Ife, Ariwoola was called to the Nigerian bar and enrolled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria as a Solicitor and Advocate in July 1981. He began his career as a State Counsel on National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at the Ministry of Justice, Akure, Ondo State, and later as a Legal Officer in the Ministry of Justice, Oyo State until 1988 when he voluntarily left the State Civil Service for private practice.

Ariwoola worked as Counsel in the Chambers of Chief Ladosu Ladapo, SAN, between October 1988 and July 1989 when he established Olukayode Ariwoola & Co, a firm of legal Practitioners and Consultants in Oyo town in August 1989. In November 1992, he was appointed as a Judge of Oyo State Judiciary. He was also the chairman of the Board of Directors of Phonex Motors Ltd, one of the Oodua Investment conglomerates, between 1988 and 1992, as well as the chairman of the Armed Robbery Tribunal, Oyo State, between May 1993 and September 1996 when he was posted out of the headquarters in Ibadan to the Saki High Court.

Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Ariwoola served as a Justice of the Court of Appeal in Kaduna, Enugu, and Lagos Divisions.

Appointment as Chief Justice of Nigeria

Justice Olukayode Ariwoola was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on November 22, 2011, after serving as a justice of the Nigerian courts of appeal. He was confirmed as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria on June 27, 2022, following the resignation of the incumbent Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad.

The Nigerian Senate confirmed his appointment as the Chief Justice of Nigeria on September 21, 2022. In his new role, Ariwoola is responsible for the administration of justice in Nigeria, ensuring that the legal system operates efficiently and effectively.


Justice Olukayode Ariwoola's legacy in the Nigerian judiciary is notable for his commitment to upholding the rule of law and dispensing justice impartially. He has a reputation for being a highly competent and diligent jurist who is respected by his colleagues, the legal profession, and the wider Nigerian society.

As the Chief Justice of Nigeria, he is expected to continue to uphold the integrity of the Nigerian judiciary and ensure that justice is accessible to all Nigerians, regardless of their status or position in society. He is also His dedication and commitment to the Nigerian judicial system has not gone unnoticed, as he has been awarded various honours and accolades throughout his career. In 2011, he was conferred with the National Honour of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) by the Nigerian government. He was also awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the Obafemi Awolowo University in 2019.

Aside from his legal career, Ariwoola is also actively involved in community service and philanthropy. He has been a member of the Rotary Club of Ibadan since 1993, where he has served in various leadership positions, including President in 2002-2003. He has also been involved in various humanitarian and community development projects, such as providing free legal aid to the indigent, donating to orphanages and supporting vocational training programs for youths.

As the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola faces the daunting task of leading the Nigerian judicial system in addressing the numerous challenges it currently faces. These challenges include issues of judicial independence, corruption, and inadequate funding, among others. However, with his vast experience and track record of excellence in the legal profession, many Nigerians are optimistic that he will be able to lead the Nigerian judiciary to greater heights.

In conclusion, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola is a distinguished Nigerian jurist whose contributions to the legal profession and the Nigerian judiciary cannot be overemphasized. His appointment as the Chief Justice of Nigeria is a testament to his hard work, dedication, and commitment to justice and fairness. It is hoped that his tenure as the head of the Nigerian judiciary will bring about positive changes and improvements to the justice system in the country.

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