BY EMMA UJAH & CLIFFORD NDUJIHE
ABUJA — AFTER weeks of preparations, the Federal Government, yesterday, released the names of 483 prominent Nigerians, who are expected to hammer out details of a new constitution for Nigeria at the National Conference, which will now begin on March 17.
According to the list released by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, nine more delegates are expected to make up the prime figure of 492.
Top on the list are leading statesmen and eminent persons- Dr Tunji Braithwaite, Chiefs Richard Akinjide, Ayo Adebanjo and EK Clark, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, AK Horsfall, Dr Olisa Agbakoba, General Ike Nwachukwu, Pastor Tunde Bakare, General Jeremiah Useni and Chief Olusegun Osoba.
Also on the list are Professor Auwalu Yadudu, Iyorchia Ayu, Okey Wali, Alhaji Ghali Na’Abba, General Zamani Lekwot, Chief Olabode George, Chiefs Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Olu Falae, Professors Anya O. Anya, Jerry Gana and Dora Akunyili, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, Ray Ekpu and Senator Femi Okurounmu among others.
Remarkably, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) is yet to send in the names of its two nominees. It will be recalled that leaders of the party had initially opposed the confab. Apart from describing it as a waste of scare resources, they faulted the timing and alleged a hidden agenda on the part of President Goodluck Jonathan. However, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State said the party had to make a U-turn to accommodate the interest of diverse peoples of APC states.
Meanwhile, states like Yobe, Rivers, Delta, Edo and Oyo are expected to nominate one more delegate each. They nominated two out of the three delegates required. The Academy of Social Science is yet to nominate its delegate. Also, one more delegate is expected from the Muslim community, which nominated five out of the six allotted to it.
Apart from the delegates, the president also appointed three assistant secretaries – Dr. Akilu Ndabawa (assistant secretary, Conference Proceedings), Professor Mahmood Yakubu (assistant secretary, Finance and Administration) and Mr. Akpandem James (assistant secretary, Media and Communications).
The president had earlier appointed Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi as chairman of the conference, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi as his vice and Dr Valerie Azinge as secretary.