Retired Chief Justice of Nigeria Idris Legbo Kutigi will chair the national conference billed to be inaugurated on Monday.
He will be assisted by former External Affairs Minister Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Anyim Pius Anyim announced the appointments last night.
Dr. Mrs. Valerie Azinge was named the secretary of the conference.
The statement announcing the appointments reads: “His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has approved the appointment of the Leadership of the National Conference as follows:
Honourable Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi-Chairman
Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi-Vice Chairman
Dr. (Mrs.) Valerie Azinge-Secretary”
“The appointees are to resume at Abuja on Wednesday, 5th March, 2014 and would be received on arrival by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.”
Mrs. Azinge is the wife of the DG of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Prof. Epiphany Azinge.
Investigation by our correspondent showed that the President decided to choose Kutigi and Akinyemi because of their belief in the unity and stability of Nigeria.
A source said: “I can tell you that the pan-Nigeria attitude of Kutigi and Akinyemi earned them the appointments.
“Jonathan opted for them because he does not want any issue at the conference which could affect our corporate survival.
“Also, the preference for Kutigi was informed by his tough and principled stand on issues. He is not somebody you can sway by tribal or political persuasion.
“Since he left office, he seldom speaks truth to power. So, you can see that the government is really determined not to influence the conference.
“He is not a blind critic or a friend of the government. Kutigi has the opportunity to lead the conference to preserve our unity.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “The fact that Kutigi is a former Chief Justice of Nigeria would help address legal and constitutional issues at the conference.”
On the appointment of Akinyemi, the presidency source said: “He loves Nigeria with an uncommon passion and he is internationally exposed. He deserves such a post.
“He is also a patient Nigerian whose bridge building experience nationwide could assist in managing the tempo at the conference.”
It was learnt that the President decided to appoint a secretary from the South-East so that the conference can start on a national tripod from the onset. (The Nation)tweet