BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE, DAPO AKINREFON & CHARLES KUMOLU
FROM the lips of some eminent Nigerians came commendation, yesterday, for the appointment of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Kutigi, as chairman of the National Conference.
President Goodluck Jonathan, Monday, named Kutigi as chairman of the conference with Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, as his vice and Dr Valerie Azinge as secretary. Reacting to the appointment, yesterday, legal icon, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), said the choice of Justice Kutigi as chairman of the National Conference is a good one.
Speaking with Vanguard on the telephone, he said: “I do not know his political lineage or ideological orientation but professionally and in terms of status and achievement, he is quite entitled. He is a retired chief justice of the country, he was called to the bar 50 years ago and did quite well as chief justice of Nigeria. He left with an impeccable reputation. Since he retired, nothing negative has been heard about him, so, I think he is qualified, he is quite okay.”
Also, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Minister of Finance, Chief Olu Falae, said: “Kutigi is a retired chief justice of the Supreme Court, he is a Nigerian and I believe he is eminently qualified to preside over such a meeting. Although I do not know him personally but based on his qualification and career profile, I think he is qualified to preside over the meeting.”
In like manner, the Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere, said the choice was a good one. Afenifere National Leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, said: “I think he is eminently qualified to be the chairman, the choice is in the right direction. His deputy is also good and the secretary will also do well.”
Kutigi is okay but only angels can save Nigeria –Kwande
Elder statesman, Ambassador Yahaya Kwande, said: “I don’t think I have any problem with Kutigi. But I have not been speaking on the conference because I am not interested in it. I have participated in two conferences in the past where I, alongside other eminent Nigerians, sat down and proffered our contributions but the recommendations have not been implemented. It will only take angels to provide what the country needs because we have done that in the past. What is expected of them would have been to make suggestions in addition to what we did in the past and present it to the National Assembly. But what they are doing now amounts to a waste of time and resources.”
Confab will change Nigeria – Igbo Leaders of Thought
Igbo Leaders of Thought, yesterday, expressed belief that the exercise would change the country for the better. Rising from a strategic committee meeting in Enugu, the Professor Ben Nwabueze, SAN,-led body commended President Goodluck Jonathan for his commitment to the survival of the country by initiating the conference.
Speaking on the outcome of the meeting, Evangelist Elliot Uko, ILT deputy secretary and founder of the Igbo Youths Movement (IYM), said: “Igbo Leaders of Thought are proud of President Jonathan and are confident that the confab will change Nigeria for the better.”
We commend President Jonathan for his giant strides to bring Nigerians together.”
His commitment to the survival of Nigeria is unique and commendable.
‘’We have been watching President Jonathan’s strides in the areas of the economy, fighting the man-made insurgency and taking the historic step to restructure Nigeria through the National Conference. For these actions, Igbo Leaders of Thought assure Preisdent Jonathan that when the time comes we will stand by him.’’
Delegates should avoid discussing indivisibility of Nigeria—Eyiboh
On his part, former Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh said: “Kutigi is legally qualified. He is a round peg in a round hole. But we should not forget the fact that the outcome of the conference does not largely depend on the headship alone. The delegates are also part of this process that should not discuss the indivisibility of the country. They should come up with good ideas on how to move the nation forward because already we have leadership recruitment crisis in the country.”