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Behold the 2014 class of Nigeria national conference

The are some of the men and women who might shape Nigeria’s future

President Goodluck Jonathan  Monday (today) inaugurate the 492-member National Conference in Abuja. The list includes former governors, former ministers, former local government chairmen, retired military and security officers, retired civil servants, traditional rulers, former lawmakers, professionals, civil society and labour activists, physically-challenged persons and members of socio-cultural organizations.

Festus Owete, Ibanga Isine, and Sani Tukur present the profile of some of the delegates who might shape Nigeria’s future.

Nduese Essien:

Mr. Essien was a member of the House of Representative from 1999 to 2007. The position he held at the House of representative includes, the leader of the South-South Parliamentary Caucus; and Chairman of the House Committee on Anti Corruption, National Ethics and Values. Late President Umaru Yar’Adua later appointed him into the Technical Committee on the Niger Delta. In 2010, Mr. Essien was appointed Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, a position he held until May, 2012. He is from Akwa Ibom State. He is 70 years old and was appointed to serve in the conference in the elder state men category.

Peter Odili:

This is not the first time the former Governor of River State will be appointed to serve in such a conference. In 1992, he was member of the River State delegation to the Constituent Assembly. After the Third Republic ended, he was again elected to the National Constitutional Conference and became the Conference Committee Chairman on State Creation. Mr. Odili is the former National Secretary of the defunct Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN). He is 66 years old and appointed under the elder statesmen category. Mr. Odili is alleged by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to have enriched himself from the treasury of River State while in office as a governor. The case against him is in a stalemate as he was able to obtain a dubious order of perpetual injunction from a High Court stopping the EFCC from prosecuting him for corruption.

Adamu Mu’azu:

Mr. Mu’Azu is the National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and he is coming to the conference in the category of elder statesmen. He was governor of Bauchi State between 1999 and 2007. He was charged by the EFCC for corruption after he left office though it is believed that the court discharged the case.

Alfred Diete-Spiff:

In May 1967, Mr. Diete-Spiff was appointed the first Military Administrator of the newly created Rivers State at age 25. He held office from May 1967 until July 1975 during the military administration of Yakubu Gowon. He was also a member of the Supreme Military Council. In 1973, an article in the defunct Nigerian Observer said Mr. Diete-Spiff ordered his aide, Ralph Iwowari, to publicly shave the head of a Nigerian Observer reporter and had him beaten with 24 lashes of the cane for publishing a story about an impending teachers’ strike on Mr. Diete-Spiff birthday, which he considered an insult. In December 2009, Mr. Diete-Spiff was appointed National Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Auctioneers. He is the Amayanabo (King) of Twon-Brass in Bayelsa State. He was in the 2005 Confab and served in the Committee on Models and Structure of Government. He is in the category of elder statesmen.

Ibrahim Gambari:

Mr. Gambari is the Special Adviser on the International Compact with Iraq and other Issues to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. He is the former Chairperson of the African Union Commission Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative to Darfur. He also served as the Under Secretary-General of the UN Department of Political Affairs. He was born in 1944 in Kwara State. He attended the Columbia University, New York, USA from 1970 -1974, where he obtained M.A. in Political Science/International Relations. He was External Affairs Minister between 1984 and1985. Mr. Gambari was pioneer Chancellor of the Kwara State University.

Jubril Aminu:

He was born in August 1939. He graduated in medicine from the University of Ibadan in 1965, and holds a Ph. D in Medicine from the Royal Post-Graduate Medical School.
Mr. Aminu was consultant, senior lecturer and sub-dean of Clinical Studies at the University of Ibadan Medical School from 1973 -1975, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, from 1975–1979, visiting Professor of Medicine at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington DC, from1979–1980, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, 1980-1985. He was also Professor of Medicine at the University of Maiduguri from1979–1995. Mr. Aminu held office as Minister of Education and later Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources (1989–1992). He was Nigeria’s Ambassador to the USA from 1999–2003 and was elected Senator for Adamawa Central constituency in May 2003 and re-elected in 2007.

Abdullahi Mamman:

Mr. Mamman served in the Nigerian army for 30 years and was at various times Minister for Internal Affairs, Industry and Technology. He was a member, International Observer Team to Zimbabwe; a member, United Nation’s Interim Force in Lebanon. He also served in the Constitutional Conference of 1993. He was appointed Federal Commissioner at the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in 1999. He was a member of the 2005 National Political Reform Conference, representing the Federal Capital Territory. He was also a member of the 1994/1995 Constitutional Conference convoked by Sani Abacha administration and served in its Defence Committee. He was born on July 21, 1941 in the Abaji area of Abuja

Zamani Lekwot:

He was military governor of Rivers State from July 1975 to 1978 during the military administrations of Murtala Muhammed and Olusegun Obasanjo. He also served as Ambassador and High Commissioner to the Republics of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Gambia. Mr. Lekwot fell out with Mr. Babangida, and was forced to retire in 1985 after the latter became Chief of Army Staff. Following the violence that erupted between Muslims and Christians in Zangon-Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State in 1992 with many deaths, a tribunal set up by the Babangida administration sentenced Mr. Lekwot and 16 others to death for alleged complicity in the killings. The sentences were eventually reduced to a short incarceration. Mr. Lekowt received a state pardon in December 1995. He is a retired Major General of the Nigerian Army and is 70 years old.

Tony Nyiam:

Mr. Nyiam is a retired army Colonel. He Hails from Boki in Cross River State. He holds his first degree in Quantity Surveying and Masters in International Relations. Mr Nyiam came to the limelight when he and some other army officers attempted to overthrow former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, in a coup, on April 22, 1990. Great Ogboru, who was the governorship candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, in Delta State, in 2011, reportedly sponsored the coup led by Gideon Orkar, a major. Mr. Nyiam was a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee, PAC that packaged the national conference, but resigned midway following his altercation with the Edo Governor, Adams Oshiomhole during the committee’s public hearing in Benin. He is a Federal Government nominee to the conference.

Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, 62:

Mr. Alamieyeseigha is a delegate of Bayelsa State. He was the first civilian governor of Bayelsa State under whom President Goodluck Jonathan served as deputy governor. He served between 1999 and 2005 when he was impeached from office. The former Air Force officer who was popularly called the “Governor-General of the Ijaw Nation” was found guilty of corruption and was sentenced to prison. He was, however, controversially pardoned by the National Council of States last year. He is wanted in the U.K. for money laundering.

Olu Falae, 74:

Mr. Falae was Minister of Finance under the military administration of Ibrahim Babangida and later served as Secretary to the Government of the Federation. He was detained by the military administration of Sani Abacha over his demand for the return of democracy to the nation. He was freed when the taciturn general died. In 1999, he was the joint presidential candidate of the defunct All Peoples Party, APP, and the Alliance for Democracy. He, however, lost to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He belongs to the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, and is also the chairman of the revitalised Social Democratic Party (SDP). He was selected in the elder statesmen category from Ondo State.

Richard Akinjide:

Mr. Akinjide has been in politics since the First Republic during which he served as Education Minister. He was the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in the Second Republic administration of Shehu Shagari. He is an ardent supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan. His daughter, Olajumoke is the Minister of State for FCT. Mr. Akinjide was at the 2005 National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) and served in the Committee on Models and Structure of Government. He was born in the 1930s. He is from Oyo State and will be attending the confab as an elder statesman.

Ike Nwachukwu, 73:

He is a retired army general. Mr. Nwachukwu was the military Governor of the old Imo State, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Foreign Affairs Minister, and a member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council, (AFRC). He represented Abia North Senatorial District in the Senate between 1999 and 2003 on the ticket of the PDP. Mr. Nwachukwu was in the NPRC in 2005 and served in the Committee on Models and Structure of Government. In the conference, he had canvassed one six-year term for president, five-year term for governors and one four-year term for local government chairmen. He also called for rotation of presidency among the six geo-political zones and that areas that have dominated the office in the past should make sacrifice by allowing other zones to produce the president.

Edwin Clark:

He is a nominee in the elder statesman category. The octogenarian hails from Delta State. He was Federal Commissioner for Information and Commissioner for Education in the defunct Midwestern State. He was a member of the 2005 Conference and served in the Committee on Power Sharing Reforms. Mr. Clark is a member of the PDP and has consistently canvassed for a second term for Mr. Jonathan.

Jim Nwobodo:

He is a former governor of the old Anambra State. He was Sports Minister in the Abacha administration and later a senator between 1999 and 2003. He currently chairs the Forum of Former Governors. He is coming to the confab as an elder statesman.

Jerry Gana:

He is a professor of Geography. He was a lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He was appointed chairman of Mass Mobilisation for Social and Economic Recovery, (MAMSER) by Ibrahim Babangida. He was at various times a minister for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Information and Culture, Cooperation and Integration in Africa and again for Information and National Orientation. Mr. Gana ran for president in 1992 on the Social Democratic Party, SDP platform. Before then, he was elected Senator in 1983, serving briefly until the military coup that brought Muhammadu Buhari to power. He was a major moving force of the 2005 confab. First, he was a member of the eight-member Ahmed Makarfi Committee that prepare the background paper on the defunct confab and later became a delegate in the Special Cases category. He served in the Committee on Political Parties and the Electoral Process-Model. At the conference, he was linked with the appearance of a mysterious draft constitution. The document was allegedly smuggled in to provide a platform for Obasanjo’s third term. He is coming in the category of elder statesman. He was born in 1945 at Busu in Doko LGA, Niger State.

Tanko Yakassai, 87:

Mr. Yakassai leads the Northern Elders Council, NEC, believed to be favourably disposed to Mr. Jonathan running in 2015. He recently lost the bid to head the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF. Many believed the NEC was floated after he lost his bid to head the ACF. He is from Kano and he is a delegate on the elder statesman category.

Abdulwaheed Omar:

Mr. Omar is the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC. He was a National Chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT. He is from Kaduna State.

Peter Esele:

He is a former President of Trade Union Congress, TUC. He was the leader of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (PENGASSAN). He is an indigene of Edo State.

Kola Jamodu:

He is a former Minister of Industry. He is coming on the ticket of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN). He is from kogi State.

Bola Shagaya:

She is a friend of the First Lady, Patience Jonathan. Ms. Shagaya is going to represent Women in Management Business and Public Service (WINBIZ). Born in 1959, she is from Kwara State.

Dan Nwanyanwu:

He is a lawyer and the National Chairman of the Labour Party. He has occupied the position since the party was formed. He is one of the representatives of his party.

Ahmadu Ali, 78:

He is a medical doctor and retired army colonel. He was the first Director General of NYSC and later the Federal Commissioner of Education under the Obasanjo military regime. He became the National Chairman of the PDP in April 2005 barely two months after he was nominated a member of the defunct NPRC. Although he came to the talkshop as a delegate of Kogi State, this time Mr. Ali will represent the ruling party.

Olabode George:

Like Mr. Ali, Mr. Olabode Geroge, a retired Navy Commodore will represent the ruling PDP. Before he joined politics, Mr. George from Lagos State served as a military governor of Ondo State during the Babangida administration. Born in 1945, he was National Vice Chairman of the PDP (South West) and later Chairman of the Board of Nigeria Port Authority (NPA). In 2008, Mr. George was convicted for corruption (contracts splitting and inflation) at the NPA and was sentenced to 30 month jail term. Although, he completed the jail term, the Supreme Court acquitted the former naval officer last year.

Rasheed Ladoja:

Born in 1944, Mr Ladoja was a senator in the Third Republic and Governor of Oyo State in the current dispensation. While in office as governor, he was impeached temporarily. He was restored to office. Though he was elected on the platform of the PDP, he has since left the party for the Accord Party. He is representing Accord at the Confab.

Ishaq Oloyede:

Mr. Oloyede was the co-Secretary of the defunct NPRC in 2005. Before he came to the former conference, he was the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the UNILORIN. After he left the conference, he became the VC. As he did in 2005, Mr. Oloyede, is coming on the ticket of Muslim Leaders. He is from Ogun State.

Olisa Agbakoba:

Born in May 1953, he is a renowned lawyer and was the President of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA. Mr. Agbakoba, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is also a civil society activist. He is a former President of Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO. Mr. Agbakoba is coming to the conference as a civil society leader. He hails from Onitsha in Anambra State.

Festus Okoye:

Mr. Okoye is also a renowned activist and lawyer. He is coming to the conference in the category of human rights monitor. He is from Imo State but practices in Kaduna. He is a former chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group, TMG. He also served as a member of the Uwais Committee put together by late President Umaru Yar’Adua to chart Nigeria’s electoral future. He has also served the NBA in different capacities.

Nduka Obaigbena:

He is the publisher of ThisDay Newspaper. The Delta State-born publisher is coming on the ticket of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN, the same group he represented at the 2005 NPRC.

Sani Zoro:
He is a former National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. He is representing the body at the conference.

Lanre Ogundipe:

Like Mr. Zoro, Mr. Ogundipe is also a former National President of the NUJ.

Raymond Dokpesi:

The Edo-born Dokpesi is going to represent the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, at the conference. He is a marine engineer. Mr. Dokpesi is the first Nigeria to float a private radio station – Raypower. He is also the proprietor of the Africa Independent Television, AIT. Before he ventured into broadcasting, he was into shipping. He served as Chief of Staff to Bamanga Tukur when the later was governor of the defunct Gongola State in the Second Republic.

Ray Ekpu:

Mr. Ekpu, who hails from Akwa Ibom State, is a journalist. He co-founded the defunct Newswatch magazine with the late Dele Giwa. He is coming on the ticket of South-South Socio-political/cultural and ethnic nationality groups.

Femi Okurounmu:

Mr Okurounmu is from Ogun State and was the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee, PAC, that prepared the background paper for the national conference. He was a senator representing Ogun Central between 1999 and 2003. He was also a member of the defunct NPRC representing Afenifere. This time he is also representing South West Socio-political/cultural and ethnic nationality groups.

Adetokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu:

A medical doctor by profession, Mrs. Awolowo-Dosumu is the last child of the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo. She is from Ogun State and she is representing South-West Socio-political/cultural and ethnic nationality groups.

Tunde Bakare:

He is a pastor and founder of the Latter Rain Assembly, Ogba, Lagos. A lawyer by profession, Mr. Bakare was the running mate to Muhammadu Buhari in the 2011 presidential election.

Sam Egwu:

This former lecturer was governor of Ebonyi State between 1999 and 2007. He later served as Education Minister under late President Yar’Adua.

Onyema Ugochukwu:

He is a former Editor of Daily Times. He later became the pioneer chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. He is from Abia State. Mr. Ugochukwu contested the state governorship election on the ticket of PDP in the state, but lost. He is coming to the conference as a member of the South-East Socio-political/cultural and ethnic nationality groups.

Ibrahim Coomassie:

He is a former Inspector General of Police. He is currently the chairman of the Northern Elders Forum. He was at the NRPC in 2005. He is coming on the ticket of North West Socio-political/cultural and ethnic nationality groups.

Yusuf Mamman:

He is a former ambassador and former chairman of the Alliance for Democracy, AD. He also headed the Presidential Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution. He is from Katsina State.

Auwalu Yadudu:

Mr. Yadudu, a professor of law was at the NPRC. He was the legal adviser to former head of state, Sani Abacha. He is from Kano.

Saidu Kumo:

Mr. Kumo from Gombe state was a senator between 1999 and 2003. He also served as the National Secretary of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP.

Jeremiah Useni:

A retired army general, Mr. Useni served as the military governor of the old Bendel State and later FCT Minister. He attended the NPRC in 2005. He is the national chairman of the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP. He hails from Langtang in Plateau state.

Ibrahim Mantu:

He was Deputy Senate President. He hails from Plateau State. He is a strong supporter of Mr. Jonathan and has been rooting for his re-election in 2015.

Iyorchia Ayu:

He was Senate President and two-time minister. He was a sociology lecturer before going into politics. He had also served variously as Minister of Internal Affairs and Education.

Aliyu Akwe-Doma:

He is the immediate past governor of Nasarawa State. He was deputy governor of the old Plateau State under the late Solomon Lar. He attended the NPRC in 2005. He is coming as a representative of North Central Socio-political/cultural and ethnic nationality groups.

Okey Wali:

He is from Rivers state and currently the President of the NBA. He is the sole representative of the Association in the conference.

Achike Udenwa:

He was governor of Imo State between 1999 and 2007 and thereafter became commerce minister under the late President Yar’Adua. He recently returned to the PDP at a rally attended by Mr. Jonathan in Owerri. He is representing Former Governors Forum at the conference.

Olusegun Osoba:

He was a two-time governor of Ogun State. He is a chieftain of the APC. He represents Former Governors Forum at the conference.

Victor Attah:

Mr. Attah served as governor of Akwa Ibom State between 1999 and 2007. He is a renowned architect. He is one of the six nominees representing former governors.

Saidu Barda:

He was governor of Katsina State in the botched Third Republic. He is representing Former Governors Forum at the conference.

Fidelis Tapgun:

He was governor of Plateau State in the Third Republic. He later served as Industry Minister under theObasanjo administration. He is representing Former Governors Forum at the conference.

Mohammed Goni:

He was Second Republic Governor of the old Borno State. He was a member of the NPRC in 2005. He was the PDP Governorship candidate in Borno State in 2011. He is representing Former Governors Forum at the conference.

Adolphus Wabara:

He was Senate President between 2003 and 2005. Mr. Wabara was removed from office following Bribe-for-Budget scandal that rocked the Senate. He is coming to the conference as an Abia delegate.

Ghali Umar Na’Abba:

He was the Speaker of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003. Popularly called “the Lion” when he was Speaker, Mr. Na’Abba from Kano, is a strong supporter of Mr. Jonathan. He is coming on the ticket of the House of Representatives Forum.

Chibudom Nwuche:

He was Mr. Na’Abba’s deputy in the House of the Representatives. Until recently, he acted as the National Deputy Chairman of the PDP. He is a loyalist of the president and belongs to the group opposed to Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State. He is coming on the ticket of the House of Representatives Forum.

Alani Akinrinade:

He is a war veteran and was once the Chief of Army Staff. He is from Osun State and a nominee of the Federal Government.

Abdulkadir Kure:

He his immediate past governor of Niger state is also a nominee of the Federal Government. He is an Engineer.

Adamu Aliero:

He was governor of Kebbi State between 1999 and 2007. He later became a senator and then FCT Minister before he was booted out. He is a nominee of the Federal Government.

Gambo Jimeta:

He is a former Inspector General of Police from Adamawa State. He was also a minister. He attended the 2005 NPRC.

Chukwuemeka Ezeife:

The Third Republic Governor of Anambra State was at the 2005 NPRC. He is an outspoken backer of the president. Only recently, he said at an event that “at this juncture in Nigeria history, President Jonathan’s interest in a second term and Nigerians’ interest in the continued existence of the country have become coterminous. If you say because you oppose President Jonathan’s bid for a second term in office, you are also opposed to a National Dialogue, you are saying no to one Nigeria.”

Dora Akunyili:

She rose to fame when she was appointed Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC). She later became Information Minister under late President Yar’Adua. She, however, resigned in 2011 to contest the senatorial election on the platform of APGA, but lost Chris Ngige of the then ACN.

Florence Ita-Giwa:

Popularly called Mama Bakassi, Ms. Ita-Giwa had been a senator representing Cross River South Senatorial District and later Special Adviser to the President Yar’Adua on National Assembly Affairs. She was also a member of the House of Representatives in the Third Republic. She is coming to the conference on the ticket of Cross River State.

Ken Nnamani:

A former Senate President, he is to represent Enugu State. He was Senate President between 2005 and 2007. He presided over the upper house when the third term debate took place. He opposed Mr. Jonathan in the build up to the 2011 elections.

Rukayyatu Rufai:

She is the immediate past Education Minister. She is a Jigawa indigene and is representing the state. She could not resolve the recent ASUU strike before she was removed by Mr. Jonathan.

Bello Mohammed:

A veterinary doctor by profession, Mr. Mohammed once served as administrator of Nigeria Customs Service and later Communication Minister. He was also acting National Chairman of the PDP and later Defence Minister. He recently led some indigenes of the North West region to pay a solidarity visit to the president. He is representing Kebbi State at the conference.

Fola Adeola:

He was nominated into the NPRC in 2005 in the category of Special Cases. He is coming to represent Ogun State this time. He is a co-founder of the GTBank. In 2007, he was the vice presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.

Ledum Mittee:

He was nominated into the conference last Thursday. Mr. Mitee, a lawyer, is an Ogoni leader and once served as the President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP. He was until recently Chairman of Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative NEITI. Mr. Mitee is from Rivers State. He was also in NPRC.

Mike Ozekhome:

This renowned lawyer and activist was also at the 2005 Confab where he acted as the spokesperson for the South-South delegates. He is from Edo State.

Hassan Lawal:
He was Works and Housing Minister under President Yar’Adua. He had served as Labour and Employment Minister under Obasanjo. He was recently discharged of corruption by the court. He is a nominee of the Nasarawa State Government.


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