The Federal Government has appointed the retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, Idris Legbo Kutigi to 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 who announced the appointments on Monday night, also named Dr. Mrs. Valerie Azinge the secretary of the conference.
The statement aid that “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.”
Azinge is the wife of the DG of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Prof. Epiphany Azinge.
Sources sat that the President may have settled for Kutigi and Akinyemi because of their belief in the unity and stability of Nigeria.
“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,” said a source who preferred anonymity.
The source added that “The fact that Kutigi is a former Chief Justice of Nigeria would help address legal and constitutional issues at the conference.”
Akinyemi is believed to love 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,” the source said.