In his international broadcast to mark the 53 independence anniversary, President Goodluck Jonathan announced a 13 member advisory committee whose work will dovetail into convocation of a National Conference. Members of the committee have one month to finish their work. Senator Femi Okurounmu is Chairman of the committee, while Akilu Ndabawa is secretary. We have profiled most of the members for your perusal.
SENATOR FEMI OKUROUNMU, CHAIRMAN
Senator Femi Okunrounmu was a former Commissioner in the Ministry of Works in Ogun State before he was elected Senator to represent Ogun Central under Alliance for Democracy (AD) and served from 29 May, 1999 to 29, May 2003, during which he was appointed into the committee of Commerce and Economy.
His attempt to return to the Senate was punctuated when present Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, then of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), defeated him in the election by a margin of 111,920 votes. Okunrounmu scored 52,390 in the 2003 general elections.
He was later appointed Secretary General of the Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere in January 2005. He was also chairman of the logistics committee for a conference of Afenifere and the Yoruba Council of Elders.
He was very active during the failed amendment of the Nigerian constitution to pave way for the third term bid of former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, during which he presented the position paper of the Afenifere faction led by Rueben Fasoranti, stating that Nigeria should maintain two terms of four years and dissociated the Yoruba from Obasanjo’s third term agenda, saying it was the work of the President and the PDP.
In July 2008 Okurounmu blamed unrest in South west Nigeria on the politics of self-aggrandizement and selfishness. He is one of the prominent politicians who have condemned the zoning arrangement in the PDP by which presidents alternate between South and North every two terms, noting that the arrangement was ridiculous, noting that President Goodluck Jonathan has the right to seek re-election.
SENATOR ANYIM PIUS ANYIM
Senator Anyim Pius Anyim is Secretary to the Government of the Federation and former President of the Senate. He was elected Senator under the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Ebonyi South constituency in 1999. He was voted by his colleagues as Senate President in August, 2000. Anyim who served just one term is Chairman of the committee set up by the Federal Government on the centenary celebration.
His sojourn in politics dated to 1998 in the United Nigeria Congress Party(UNCP), when he contested and won a Senate seat but the death of former Head of State, General Sani Abacha on June 8, 1998 denied him the privilege of occupying the Senate chambers until 1999 when he re-contested under the PDP.
In January 2010 Senator Anyim Pius Anyim led a delegation of 41 eminent Nigerians that called on President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to transmit a letter of his incapacitation to the National Assembly to salvage the nation’s democracy from danger.
He was full of encomiums for the Senate when they passed a resolution on 9 February 2010 to convert Vice President Goodluck Jonathan into Acting President.
Born 19 February 1961 in Ishiagu, in Ivo Local Government, Ebonyi State, Anyim attended Federal School of Arts and Science, Aba and later, Imo State University, Uturu from 1983–1987. In 1992, Anyim was appointed Head of Protection Department at the National Commission for Refugees, Abuja. His job included provision of legal services and political protection for refugees, which took him to different parts of the world.
PROFESSOR BEN NWABUEZE
Prof. Ben Nwabueze is a reputable constitutional lawyer from Atani in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and author of many publications, he is also an erudite scholar and former Minister of Education and Youth Development.
Born in December, 22, 1932, he attended CMS Central School Atani, from 1938 – 1945 and C.M.S Central School, Onitsha formerly, African College from 1947 – 1950. He was also at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London from 1956 – 1961 before moving to School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London between 1961 and 62.
He became a Senior Lecturer at Holborn College of Law, London from 1962 to 1965 and later Senior Lecturer, University of Nigeria Nsukka, from 1967 to 1970. In 1971, he was appointed Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Zambia and Director, Law practice Institute, Zambia, from 1973 to 1975. Nwabueze earned his Doctor of Laws (LL.D) at the University of London in 1978, based on three outstanding books he authored, Constitutionalism, Presidentialism, and Judicialism.
He is reputed as the first academic lawyer to become Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on the basis of published works. A seasoned academician, Nwabueze was a member of Senate of several universities, Universities of Lagos, Dar-es-salaam, Nairobi, Haile Selassie in Ethiopia, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland between 1971 and 1978.He was appointed the University Assessor for Academic Appointments in Universities of Ghana, Lagos, Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University and Jos between 1978 and 1979.
He is a well published author with at least 30 books to his credit, among which is The Machinery of Justice in Nigeria; Constitutional Law of the Nigerian Republic; Nigerian Land Law and Constitutionalism in the Emergent States. Others are Presidentialism in Commonwealth Africa, Judicialism in Commonwealth Africa; The Presidential Constitution of Nigeria; A Constitutional History of Nigeria; Federalism in Nigeria under the Presidential Constitution; and Nigeria’s Second Experiment in constitutional Democracy in Africa in Five Volumes.
He has written over 200 articles in academic journals and delivered more than 100 keynote addresses at local and international conferences. His Professorial Chairs cuts across many universities, Zambia, 1970 – 75; Ahmadu Bello university, Zaria, 1974; University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1975 – 76 and Anambra State University of Technology; Nnamdi Azikiwe university and Awka between 1989 and 1983 in visiting capacity.
Nwabueze is also a strong advocate for the Igbo cause. He co-founded Ohaneze Ndigbo in 1976 with prominent Igbo sons like Akanu Ibiam, M.I. Okpara, K.O. Mbadiwe, Chief Ugochukwu, P.N. Okigbo and Udoji . He became Secretary – General of the body from 1978 to 2004, during which he transformed Ohaneze Ndigbo into a formidable non-partisan Pan Igbo pressure group. He is a recipient of the Nigerian Order of Merit (NNOM).
PROFESSOR GEORGE OBIOZOR
Professor George Obiozor is another prominent Nigerian serving in the Advisory Committee on National Dialogue. A professor of international repute, he was Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States in 2004, during which he held a town hall meeting in Washington DC with Nigerians in the Diaspora. Prior to his posting to the United States, he was Nigeria’s ambassador to the State of Israel, and High Commissioner to the Republic of Cyprus from 1999 to 2003.
Between 1964 and 2003, Professor Obiozor held many important positions in the Nigerian government and academia including Senior Research Fellow at Nigerian Institute of International Affairs and Director-General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (1991-1999).
He was educated at Summa Cum Laude University of Puget Sound, now Seattle University School of Law, Washington, United State where he bagged a Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) in 1969 before switching to the University of Colombia for his Masters of Arts (MA) and Doctorate (PhD) Degrees in 1974 and 1976 respectively.
A writer and author of so many books, his profound knowledge in diplomacy has become a great asset in rebuilding Nigeria’s image.
He is an optimist who believes in adopting a positive approach to issues rather than engaging in criticism and negativism. He believes that the Ndigbo are among the most favoured group in Nigeria since they constitute the federating unit found in larger numbers in all parts of the country.
SENATOR KHAIRAT ABDULRAZAQ GWADABE
Senator Khairat Gwadabe is the chairman Senators Forum. Gwadabe occupied the Senate chambers from 1999 to 2003, representing the Federal Capital Territory. She was elected to the seat on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A very strong ally of the late Senate President, Senator Chuba Okadigbo, she was one of those that mobilised for the impeachment of then Senate President, Senator Evans Ewerem.
She served in several committees in the Senate: Environment, Health, Federal Character, Tourism & Culture and Federal Capital Territory, from where he rose to become Chairman Committee on Women Affairs. She was also a member of the panel on Review of Nigeria Customs and Excise. She lost her bid to return to the Senate in 2003.
A very strong believer in the emancipation of the Nigerian people, Gwadabe is one of those who believe that Nigeria cannot move forward with a budget that is 70 percent devoted to recurrent expenditure against 30 percent for capital expenditure. Born in 1962, she was educated at the University of Lagos where she studied law.
Tony Uranta will tread a familiar path in the committee having served for several years as Executive Secretary Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG). He is a also a member of the Federal Government Technical Committee on the Niger Delta.
Tony I Uranta holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Ibadan. He is a member of the Independent Civic and Social Organisation Professional. Uranta is an Ijaw leader of thought and a public affairs analyst who has convened a national dialogue in the past in company of Professor Pat Utomi.
“I am merely a steward of the common good of Ijaw nation, the Niger Delta, Nigeria and all stakeholders in the respect of humanity worldwide, for we are all intricately interlinked with all other members of the human race! I wish to remind all that I need as much support as possible to serve creditably, and help manifest a National Conference worthy of the vision of Aka-Basorun, Gani Fawehinmi, Anthony Enahoro, Edwin Clark, Arthur Nwankwo, Tanko Yakasai, Balarabe Musa, Ewa Henshaw, Loretta Aniagolu, Emem Okon, et al have longed striven to manifest, ” Uranta said of his nomination.
COL. ANTONY NYIAM
Col. Anthony Nyiam is one of the surviving senior officers that took part in the April 22, 1990 coup that attempted to topple the government of former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida. A very brilliant officer, col. Nyiam has authored two relevant books on current subjects that agitate the Nigerian polity: ‘Nigerian National Question and Answer and Inter-Religious Understanding As the Meaningful Basis for Religious Tolerance. Speaking at the public presentation of the book, the Late Biafra warlord, Col. Odumegwu-Ojukwu emphasised that the way forward in Nigeria was a national conference where all the ethnic nationalities would discuss the future.
Nyiam served in the Engineering division of the Nigerian Army, directing staff at the Command and Staff College, Jaji.
DR. ABUBAKAR SADIQ,
Dr. Abubakar Sadiq has in the past served Nigeria as Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation in 2010. He was appointed to that position when President Goodluck Jonathan was serving the nation in the capacity of Acting President.
He is from Nafada Local Government in Gombe State and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the University of Maiduguri(1985) and a Master of Science degree in Physics from the University of Ibadan.
He worked as lecturer at the Federal University of Technology, Yola from 1986 to 1996 before moving to the National Teachers Institute, Kaduna, where he served from 2002 to 2008. He later worked as Chief of Staff to then Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bayero Nafada in 2008.
Akilu Indabawa was Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Political Matters. He came to limelight in 2011, when he denied allegations that he wrote six state governors, thanking them for making a donation of N500 million each to the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation.
SENATOR TIMOTHY ADUDU
Senator Adudu occupied the Senate chambers from 2003 to 2007. He was voted on the platform of the defunct all Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and represented Plateau North Senatorial District before he defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He was however deregistered by the state chapter of PDP alongside former Governor Fidelis Tapgun and Alhaji Ado Datti at the eve of the recent PDP special convention over alleged non participation in party activities.
MALLAM Buhari Bello
Mallam Buhari Bello is a lecturer in the department of Political Science, University of Abuja.
Other members of the committee are Prof. Funke Adebayo and Dr. (Mrs) Mairo Ahmed Amshi.