NPRC delegates profiles
December 28, 2006 | posted by Nigerian Muse (Archives)

This Day Online

As the Delegates Buckle Their Shoes...

By Eddy Odivwri, 02.12.2005


Nigeria is on the march again. This time not to elect leaders, but to allow the leaders to “talk the talk”.


The stage appears set for what President Olusegun Obasanjo has preferred to describe as National Political Reforms Conference. The issues appear straight.  But not exactly. Some delegates are coming to the conference with bottled-up anger over how they believe they have been unfairly treated over the years in the Nigerian project. Some are also feeling shortchanged in the commonwealth.


The grudges are many, but the agenda is narrow. And that is why some fear that the conference is prone to emotional eruptions except it is properly moderated and controlled. The fears previously nursed by past leaders and even by the same President Obasanjo that such a forum would atomise Nigeria is now a thing of the past – hopefully. Now, the determination to make the conference succeed appears strong. Even unwilling and circumspect persons are being wooed and preached to, so they can be conference converts.


Over 400 persons will converge on Abuja to discuss Nigeria’s problems and work out the mechanics of a better Nigeria. The 36 states will nominate 216 delegates. President Obasanjo will nominate 50 others, about 12.5% of the total number of delegates. Other interest groups and professional bodies will nominate the rest. The state Governors have been the ones nominating the state delegates. The opportunity of the nomination has been veritably seized by the governors to, once again, distribute favours to their allies and cronies. In many states, for instance, all the delegates are the cronies of the governors. But Lagos is playing the big heart by even nominating a PDP chieftain (Chief Reuben Bashorun) as one of the delegates. Coming from an AD government that is being pummelled from every corner by the same PDP, it can be seen as a demonstration of fair mindedness to accord the privilege of a confab nominee to an “enemy”, so to say.


And from Jigawa state, one of the don’ts of the conference has been flouted.  Both the Attorney General and Chief of Staff of the state are on the lists of delegates from the state. It breaches the demand that government officials are exempted from participating in the conference. And another highlight is in the average age of the delegates. It is largely a pack of old men, many of whom have been in circulation before Nigeria gained independence from the British colonialists. Many worry about the inclusion of names like  Senator Uba Ahmed (Gombe), Alhaji Umaru Dikko (Kaduna)  Prof Ango Abdullahi (Kaduna) or Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clarke (Delta). What new ideas do these old folks have for the modern problems confronting the nation? 


But Ekiti state tried to break the trend by nominating “newbreed” politicians to the conference. Except Chief S.k  Babalola, other named delegates are unknown names and faces. It remains to be seen whether Gov Ayo Fayose made a “mistake” or not. But there is a general clamour for generational shift. It is in disregard of this quest, for instance, that the people in Edo State are already protesting the nomination of names like Tom Ikimi, Mike Akhigbe and co. Still it is exciting that Delta is sending three professors and three other tested old war horses. Indeed, the mix is thick. There is hope that if the conference is guided by altruistic intentions devoid of undue manipulations, the array of delegates could help to rescue the nation from the path of perdition.


Next week, the conference will kick off, although the members of the House of Representatives are yet kicking against the holding of the conference, because according to them it is “illegal”, and so they cannot appropriate funds for it. The point, however, remains that many Nigerians seem to have embraced the idea of a conference. Indeed, it has remained the lingering quest of the pro-democracy group. But the irony is that the anchor men of the pro-democracy groups have been opposing the conference.


Indeed, Chief Anthony Enahoro and Professor Wole Soyinka have been at the forefront of calling for the boycott of the conference. They have alternatively opted for Pro National Conference (PRONACO), which they will organise as a parallel body. They have not explained what effect their resolutions at such a conference will be. Who will they submit their resolutions to? And how can it be binding? Are they merely grandstanding as dyed-in-the-wool social critics? In this edition, we bring you the second part of the profile of the men and women who will, in the next three months, seek to package a new Nigeria, where no man shall be oppressed, and where we will all continue to stand in brotherhood, though tribe and tongue may differ.




By Donald Andoor


•Barima Moses Wifa

Barima Moses Wifa (SAN) is an Ogoni man. After his secondary education at the Methodist College, Uzuakoli, from 1951 to 1955, he worked as a teacher in the  federal civil service. He later obtained a Law degree from the United Kingdom and became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1998.

Between 1984-1985, he was the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of the old Rivers State. He was elected the chairman of the Rivers Bar Association, Port Harcourt branch from 1986-1989. He was twice appointed a commissioner in the Rivers State Judicial Service Commission. He was the lead counsel of Governor Peter Odili in the case filed by the ANPP Rivers State governorship candidate, Chief Sergeant Chidi Awuse in the last general elections to challenge the validity of the election results as declared by the INEC.


•Alfred Horesefall

Chief Alfred K. Horsefall is a former director of the State Security Services (SSS), and was also the former chairman of the defunct Oil and Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC). He was a founding member of the National Democratic Party (NDP), a party he recently dumped and declared for the ruling PDP. He hails from Buguma, headquarters of Asari-Toru local Government.


•Mr. Akiedi Oyaghiri

A lawyer by profession, Oyaghiri hails from Omukwa in Abua/Odua Local Government of Rivers State. He served as commissioner at various times. He was first appointed Commissioner for Finance by the Ada George administration in 1992. He was again appointed commissioner twice by Governor Peter Odili. He also served as a member representing Rivers State on the board of the National Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal commission.


•Dr. Silas Eneyo

He was born in 1956 at Ibotrem, Andoni Local Government of Rivers State. He schooled at St. Paul's School, Opobo and County Grammar School, Ikwerre where he proceeded to the University of Ibadan for his medical training. He worked in various capacities in the civil service of Rivers State until he attained the level of Chief Medical Officer, Department of Surgery, Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, Port Harcourt. He is currently a member of the Rivers Advisory Council. 


•Chief Samson Agbaru

Born in 1938 at Ndeli in Emuoha Local Government of Rivers State, Agbaru obtained a BSC in Economics in 1965 at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and thereafter spent several years as a teacher before he later moved into the main stream of the Rivers Civil Service where he rose to become the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) between 1995 and 1996. He is currently a member of the Rivers Advisory Council and Chairman Rivers Library Board.


•Chief Tari Sekibo 

He is a Russian trained medical practitioner and was once elected a senator. He is presently the chairman of Okrika Council of Chiefs.



By Jide Orinsunsin



The nomination of Comrade Dahiru Awaisu, 56, as one of the six “wise men” from Niger State was an exhibition of political tolerance of Governor Abdulkadir Kure. Comrade Awaisu, who is the state chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), was until 2002 the secretary to the Niger State Government. He was removed due to some irreconcilable differences with his principal – Kure. His nomination caught many political watchers unawares. Some believe his inclusion as a delegate to the National Dialogue as a move to reconcile with the Kuta-born politician, and in furtherance of the resolve of Governor Kure to carry everybody along, irrespective of political affiliation.

He was a former member of the House of Representatives in 1992 under the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) His political clout in the lower chamber of National Assembly earned him the House Chairman of Ethics and Privileges Committee. A former school teacher, Comrade Awaisu was a former secretary Lapai Local Government Area of the State.



The youngest of the “wise men” from Niger State, Umaru Kawu, the incumbent Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Niger State, is another emerging political leader in the state. He is a partner, brother, a well-connected  confidant of the state governor. Born in 1963, the Niger State Chief Law Officer and an alumnus of Ahmadu Bello University. His political career started in 1991 when he was elected the state deputy legal adviser of defunct National Republican Convention (NRC). By 1993 he was also a member of the NRC constitution review committee. He became the Chief Law Officer of the state in 1999, a position he still holds. A member of International Bar Association (IBA), Kawu is expected to bring his experience to bear at the confab. 



Professor Shehu Bida,  Marafa Nupe, born in Okene, Kogi State in 1934, remains a political enigma in the state. Fondly referred to as the leader of the Nupe “Mafia”, the one time chairman of Bida Local Government is the oldest delegate from Niger State. A seasoned and well-respected Veterinary Professor who in recent times, has withdrawn from active partisan politics but remains the rallying point of his Nupe people for his forthrightness and Wealth of administrative experience. A former lecturer at the famous Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and author of many books, is expected to be among the older generation in the confab that will troubleshoot and mid-wife a new political agenda for the country.



Alhaji Abubakar Magaji, the Ndeji Lapai and the National Vice Chairman (North Central) of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is one of president Olusegun Obasanjo arrow heads in the confab.  An influential politician in Niger State, whose political stature over the years, has earned him “Mr Fix it” of Niger State. He was instrumental to the election of the Dr Musa Inuwa, Niger State second executive governor in 1992, a feat he repeated in 1999 for the emergence of  the Kure administration.



Former Emir of Borgu, Alhaji Ishaq Jinkatoro, was until 1999, the secretary, Borgu Emirate Council and Personall Assistant to the late Emir of Borgu, Alhaji Kagera.

His appointment in 1999 as a commissioner by Governor Kure shot him to political limelight, until he got entangled in the Borgu Chieftancy tussle, which led to his detronement as the 13th Emir of Borgu by the Supreme Court.



A 63 year old military tactician, administrator and community leader. Born in Kontagora, the former war lord is one of the few trusted retired generals in the state that remains a strong pillar upon which Kure administration rests. A complete military background, General Duba had a shut into the  polity with his appointment as military administrator of Bauchi and Sokoto State. An alumnus of the prestigious National Institutes of Policy and strategic studies (NIPSS) Kuru, Jos, General Duba rose to the highest hierarchy of his career as former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division and later 3 Armour Division. A one time Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Zaria, whose administrative prowess earned him the managing Directorship of Kaduna based Defence Industry Company (DIC).


Bayelsa State

By John Iwori


•Chief T.K.O. Okorotie

An astute politician and chieftain of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Okorotie has a knack for achieving results in seemingly difficult situations far ahead of much younger elements. He was a staunch member of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN).  Okorotie, who is fondly called TKO by his admirers, was the Chief Whip in the old Rivers State House of Assembly where he was known for his robust debates and incisive contributions to issues on the floor of the House. With his grasp of parliamentary procedures, Okorotie’s consultancy firm handled the training and re-training of newly elected members of States Houses of Assembly particularly in the South-south geopolitical zone at the advent of this present democratic dispensation on May 29, 1999. He was the pioneer Special Representative of the Bayelsa State Governor in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) during Governor Alamieyeseigha’s first term of office. He was subsequently appointed the pioneer Special Adviser on Political Affairs to the governor and later, Oil and Gas. A few days ago, Alamieyeseigha effected a minor cabinet shake-up with the re-appointment of Okorotie as the Special Adviser on Political Matters. Okorotie is expected to use the wealth of his experience, alongside other delegates from the state to articulate what many observers have already tagged the "Bayelsa Agenda", at the national conference.


•Chief Francis Amaebi Doukpolagha

Doukpolagha, who is an accountant by profession, has worked previously as a top banker in several banks, including the defunct Pan African Bank as well as African Continental Bank (ACB). He hails from Agbere in Sagbama Local Government Area and is the second delegate from Bayelsa West senatorial district.  Doukpolagha, a man of few words, was the gubernatorial candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Bayelsa state who battled Governor Alamieyeseigha to a standstill in the 1999 governorship election.  Besides, he resisted every overt and covert move used by the Amassoma-born politician to placate him and his loyalists until Alamieyeseigha's second term when both men mended fences and have since been working together. The former APP gubernatorial candidate is expected to use his experience in politics over the years to ensure that the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the state are met at the national conference.


•Dr. Tarilah Tebepah

That Tebepah, a medical doctor, is very close to Governor Alamieyeseigha is not in doubt. Their relationship, which started at Bishop Dimiari Grammar School (BDGS), Ovom, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, where they were in the same class has blossomed to a political affinity where their collective interest has never differed for once. Apart from being Alamieyeseigha's Commissioner for Health for years, Tebepah was the Bayelsa State nominee for the post of the Vice Chairman South-south for the ruling Peoples Demoratic Party (PDP), a position that was occupied by late Chief Aminosari Dikibo. It is believed that the medical doctor who is now into active politics will throw his weight behind other delegates to champion the agenda of the people of the state.


•Dr. Amba Ambaowei

Ambaowi hails from Amassoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He is a medical doctor by profession and presently manages his own clinic in the Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt. Ambaowei played a significant role in the creation of

Bayelsa State on October 1, 1996. His inputs in the struggle to emancipate the people of the oil-producing communities, especially the Ijaw speaking ones, have never been in doubt.


•King Alfred Papapreye Diete Spiff

The retired military officer, who was the first military governor of old Rivers State, is presently the Amayanabo of Twon Brass in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. As a first class traditional ruler, Spiff has a lot of influence within and outside Bayelsa State, especially in Rivers State where no occasion of substance is considered complete without his royal presence. The monarch is to join his counterparts from other Ijaw speaking states at the confab to articulate the interest of the people of Bayelsa State.


•Oronto Douglas

A human and environmental rights campaigner, Oronto Douglas is a lawyer by profession. He was among those in the forefront of the struggle for democracy in the days of military rule. Douglas, who hails from Okoroba in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, is an executive director with Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and co-author of the book "Where the Vultures Feast". He is said to be young, bold and articulate and someone who cannot be intimidated by the cacophony of voices at the national conference. Douglas is presently the Commissioner for Information, Culture, Tourism and Strategy in Bayelsa State. Apart from joining forces with other delegates in Bayelsa State to articulate the interest of the state, issues of human rights, environment and minorities will find support in Douglas who has already made a name in these areas. Douglas, as the leader of the Chikoko Movement, a pan Niger Delta Resistant group, was one of those who popularized the phrase “Resource Control”. He also objected to calling the Niger Delta “oil-producing” area but “oil-bearing” area.



By Raheem Akingbolu



He’s the leader of Ekiti State delegates. Chief Babalola was special adviser on Education to President Olusegun Obasanjo during his first term in office between 1999 and 2002. He quit the job to try his hand in the gubernatorial election of Ekiti State. However, he narrowly lost to the incumbent Governor Ayodele Fayose as the flagbearer of PDP. Babalola, 67, was a former Controller of Programmes of the defunct Western Nigerian Television, General Manager, Ondo State Radio Broadcasting Corporation and former Director, Directorate for Social Mobilisation, Ondo State. He once served as a Commissioner in late Chief Adekunle Ajasin's UPN-controlled government in Ondo state in the Second Republic. 



He’s a professor of History with an international recognition.  He has spent over two decades as a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.  His inspiring lecture as the guest lecturer at the occasion of the Ekiti Day 2004 opened the door for him in the political circle of the PDP stalwarts in the state.



He is a successful legal practitioner and the immediate past Secretary-General of the Nigerian Bar Association.  He hails from Ilawe in the Southern senatorial district of Ekiti State.  His inclusion as one of the delegates, according to an Ekiti born human rights Lawyer, will bring a tremendous benefit to the state. Adesina obtained a Law degree at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife.  Seen as a brilliant lawyer, Adesina is one of the very young persons at the conference.



Akinyede, 51, hails from Ode-Ekiti in Gbonyin Local Government of the state. He’s a product of King's College Lagos and a law graduate of University College, London. Between 1982 and 1989, Akinyede was a partner and managing solicitor in the law firm of Akinyede, Akinyede & Akinyede. He has served in various positions of responsibilities including being a member Justice Committee of Lagos State Transition Council in 1999. He was also nominated in 1987 by the Federal Government into the Defunct Constituent Assembly to assist in the drafting of the 1989 constitution. He was a member of the defunct Social Democraic Party.  In 2003, Akinyede aspired to govern the state on the platform of the PDP. Although he did not win the party's ticket, he contributed immensely to the success of his party at the polls. It is believed that his exposure and sound education will help the state's delegate at the dialogue.



He was the majority leader of the AD-controlled house in the government of former Governor Niyi Adebayo.  He had a turbulent experience toward the end of his career at the Assembly and was removed as a principal officer.  This caused him to romance the opposition and he eventually declared for the Peoples Democratic Party at a well-attended rally.  He became a prominent member in Ayo Fayose campaign movement.  When Fayose emerged governor, he first appointed this lawyer turned politician as special adviser on parliamentary affairs.  Currently, he is the special adviser to the governor on political matters.  Akin Omole’s inclusion attracted a lot of criticisms, even within the party.  Many people argued that he had “got” enough.



She holds a doctorate degree.  Like Omole, her candidature was criticised but the state’s spokeman  said she was included by the state to keep  up with the Beijing Affirmative Action.


ONDO State

By Raheem Akingbolu



Aduwo, 67, is a retired naval officer and a former military governor of the defunct Western region between July and September 1975. In 1980, he became the Chief of Naval Staff and remained in the office till 1983. Since his retirement from Nigerian Navy, Admiral Akin Aduwo has been commenting on many national issues.



A former university don, Aderanye, 61, is a prominent administrator and Business man. He was a member of the Constituent Assembly between 1988 and 1989 and fellow, Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM).



Olaiya was the Minister of Education in Abdulsalami Abubakar’s regime. Before he was appointed as a minister, he was the head of service in Ondo Civil Service. He is adjudged to be one of the best administrators the state has produced in recent years. His landmark performance in the civil service paved way for him to get the ministerial slot of the state in 1998. Many indigenes of the state hail his nomination.



He is the Medical Director of the popular Abitoye Hospital in Akure and Owo. The Owo-born doctor is a respected PDP leader in Ondo State. As a grassroots man, he was one of the prominent indigenes of the state who worked assiduously for the success of Dr. Olusegun Agagu, the Governor, at the poll. He is a member of PDP leadership caucus in the state.



He is a medical doctor, businessman and politician. He is also a very committed PDP member in the state.



“Lawyer Oke,” as he is fondly called by his politician folks, is a PDP leader in Ondo State. The astute legal practitioner hails from Ilaje-Local Government of the state. Before his nomination, Oke was the state's commissioner on the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The headquarters of his law chambers is in Okitipupa. There is a branch in Akure.



By Omon-Julius Onabu



Chief Tom Ikimi, 61, is a well known political figure who hails from Igueben, the administrative headquarters of Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State, but he was born in Cameroon which shares common boundary with Nigeria on the East. Ikimi is an architect by profession, but he assumed national prominence when he became the National Chairman of the defunct National Republican Party (NRC), one of the two political parties created during the transition under the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. He was later appointed Special Adviser on Political Matters and then Foreign Affairs Minister by late General Sani Abacha.  He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (APP) now All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) before joining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where he played notable role as a member of the committee which nominated President Olusegun Obasanjo to run for his current second term. And, following the crisis rocking the Edo State chapter of the PDP, Ikimi presently pitches tent with the Igbinedion camp; so, his nomination to the national political conference by the Igbinedion administration is hardly surprising to most political observers here. A knight of the Catholic Church, he has a number traditional titles, including the Oduma (Lion) of Igueben and the Akinrogun of Ife in Osun State.



Professor Anao is the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Benin-City, having served in that capacity between 1999 and 2004. He hails from Opoji in Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo State and was first “discovered” as a young professional with great promise during the military government of Brigadier-General (Dr) Samuel Ogbemudia (rtd) in the then Midwest, later Bendel State. An accountant by training, Anao attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where his exceptional brilliance manifested in his bagging a First Class (Honours) degree. His academic exploits laid credence to his excellent first degree as he eventually rose to the exalted position of a professor without having to write any doctoral thesis. He held several academic and administrative positions, before serving as vice-chancellor, and had insisted he would not serve a day longer than the five-year single tenure and would have handed over to an acting Vice-Chancellor, had the President and Visitor to the University of Benin not made it possible for him to hand over to his successor on the last day of the five years.



Although, he had a remarkable military career as a naval officer, Akhigbe climbed into national reckoning following his appointment as military administrator, during which he served in the states of Ondo and Lagos. He was later promoted to the premier position in the Nigerian Navy as Chief of Naval Staff (CNS). He became No. 2 Citizen in Nigeria following his appointment as Chief of General Staff (CGS), an equivalent of a Vice-President, during the military regime of General Abdusalami Abubakar. He is also a lawyer. He was chosen as the leader of the Edo North Senatorial District in the zone’s campaign for a favourable “power shift” in the state come 2007, under the platform of the Afenmai Forum.



By Ekema Osondu



He’s a retired Navy Commodore, statesman, and private businessman. Ukiwe  was a Chief of General Staff and member, Armed Forces Ruling Council, during the Ibrahim Babangida regime. Before then, he was Military Administrator of Niger and Lagos States. He hails from Abiriba in Ohafia local government area, in the Abia North senatorial district of Abia State. He is married with children. Ukiwe is the leader of the Abia State delegation to the conference.



Dr. Sam Eke is accountant, industrialist and politician. He was the former National Auditor of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In the Third Republic, he contested the gubernatorial election under the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Abia State. He holds a Ph. D in Finance from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Samek Group of Companies. He hails from Amankalu Alayi in Bende local governmenr area, currently in the Abia North senatorial zone of Abia State.



Dr. Nnaukwu Ukoha is a Senior Lecturer at the Abia State University, Uturu. He was the immediate past Commissioner for Finance in Abia State. Before assuming office as lecture, he was the General Manager, Onwuka Hi-tech Plc. He holds three Ph.Ds in Finance, Accountancy and Public Administration, all from universities in Nigeria.   Ukoha hails from Achara Ihechiowa in Arochukwu local government area which is in Abia North senatorial zone of the state.



Dr. John Chikezie is a medical practitioner and politician. He was a Commissioner for Health in Abia State. He is the proprietor of Christ the King Hospital, Aba. He hails from Isiala Ngwa North local government area which is in Abia Central senatorial zone of the state.



Dr. J.C. Ogbonnaya is a renowned surgeon, politician and administrator. He is the immediate past Chief Medical Director of the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba. He is also the Medical Director of St. Mary’s Hospital, Umuahia, a private hospital he established about two decades ago. On the political terrain, J.C Ogobonnaya was the State Secretary of the defunct Nigeria People Party in the old Imo State. He was also the State leader of the Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) in the then Imo State. He was once a gubernatorial aspirant in Abia State under the All Peoples Party (APP). He hails from Ndume in Umuahia North local government area of Abia State,  presently in Abia Central senatorial zone of the state.



Chief   Lambert Nmecha is a chartered accountant, politician and industrialist from Ukwa West local government area in the Abia South senatorial zone of the state. Nmecha was once Commissioner for Works in Abia State. He is a two-time gubernatorial aspirant in the state under the National Centre Party of Nigeria (NCPN) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was also an aspirant for the Abia South senatorial seat in 2003, but was disqualified at the last minute.


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