Statesmen

Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi OFR, GCON (1939 – 2018) – Jurist, National Conference Chairman, Elder Statesman

Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi was Nigeria’s Chief Justice from January 30, 2007, until December 30, 2009. He started out as a lawyer and became the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Niger State before becoming a High Court judge. He was elevated to the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1992 and on January 30, 2007, was appointed Chief Justice of the Federation.

Born in Kutigi, North-Western State (now located in the Lavun Local Government Area of Niger State) in 1939, Kutigi attended Elementary School in Kutigi (1946 – 1951) and Niger Middle School, Bida, between 1952 and 1953 and the Niger Provincial Secondary School, Bida, between 1958 and 1959. He was at Government College (now Barewa College), Zaria between 1960 and 1961.

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Obong Victor Attah – Governor of Akwa Ibom State (1999 – 2007)

Obong Victor Bassey Attah is an Architect, Planner, Philosopher, Politician, and Elder Statesman. He was born on November 20, 1938 in Uyo, in today’s Akwa Ibom State. He was educated at Practising School, Uyo, and St Patricks College, Calabar.

He started his professional studies in Architecture at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria, and completed at the Leeds College of Arts in June 1964. He continued his studies at the University of Liverpool School of Engineering where he did a one-year post-graduate work in the Building Science Department.

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Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, CFR – Erudite Scholar, Foreign Affairs Minister

Professor Bolaji Akinyemi was born on January 4, 1942. He hails from Osun State, South West Nigeria.

He graduated with B.A, (cum laude) from Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. 1964. He had his M.A. (International Affairs) from the The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Massachusetts, U.S.A,. 1965; M. A. (Law and Diplomacy) Fletcher, 1969 and D. Phil. (Oxon) Trinity College, Oxford, 1969.

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Lt General Jeremiah Useni – Military Governor of Bendel State (1984 – 1985), Minister of Transport and Aviation (1985-1988), Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (1993- 1998)

Lt General Jeremiah T. Useni (Rtd) was born in Langtang, Langtang North LGA of Plateau State on 16th February 1943. He is a graduate of Indian Military Academy; holds a Diploma in Advance Military Transportation from the US Army and passed through notable Institutions including the British Army Apprentices College, Chepstow (UK); Command and Staff College Jaji and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos.  He is a Fellow of Nigerian Institute of Management (FNIM), Fellow Chartered Institute of Transport (UK and Nigeria) and Fellow, National War College (FNWC).

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Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun, CON – Governor of Plateau State (1992 -1993), Minister of Industry (2005 – 2007)

Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun was born on November 1, 1945 in Shendamm Plateau State. He attended St. Theresa’s Boys School, Jos (1954-1960); College of Mary Immaculate, Kafanchan (Elementary Teachers College: 1961-1963); College of Mary Immaculate, Kafanchan (Higher Elementary Teachers College: 1966-1968); Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (B.Sc in Political science: 1970-1974); and Manchester University (Advanced Diploma in Development Studoes:1982-1983).

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Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe

Dr Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe (K.O. Mbadiwe) was one of the most colourful politicians of the First Republic. He was known as a Man of Timber and Calibre. He was born in 1915.Dr. Mbadiwe hailed from Arondizuogu in Orlu district of Imo State.

He had his primary education at St Mary’s Catholic School, Port Harcourt and Government School in Aba. He then attended Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar, Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu, Igbobi College, Lagos and the Baptist Academy, Lagos. He met Teslim Elias, Horatio Thomas and Justice F.O. Coker at Igbobi College. In 1937, after secondary school, he established Mbadiwe Produce Association, a trading venture.

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Chief Theophilus Owolabi Shobowale Benson (1917 – 2008) – Prominent politician, former Federal Minister

Chief Theophilus Owolabi Shobowale Benson Known popularly known as T.O.S. Benson, was born on July 23, 1917 in Ikorodu, Lagos. He was a prominent lawyer who became one of the most prominent Yoruba politicians in the period leading up to Nigeria’s independence in 1960.

He attended the CMS Grammar School, Lagos, and then joined the Customs Service at the age of 20. In 1943 he moved to London and studied law at Lincoln’s Inn and was called to the bar in 1947. That year he returned to Nigeria and joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC).

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Anthony Ukpabi Asika (1938 – 2004) – First Administrator of East Central State

Dr Anthony Ukpabi Asika occupied a unique position in Nigeria’s history. When the country’s four regional structure was split into twelve states in 1967, he was one of those sent to administer one of the newly created entities. While the superintendents of the other eleven states were Military men, Asika was the only civilian in the pack. Thus, while his colleagues were designated Military Governors, he was called Administrator. It was so because his zone was the epicentre of the raging civil war between the Biafran rebel forces and the Federal Government troops. 

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