Ibrahim Gambari emerges as the new Chief of Staff to the Nigerian President
Since the former Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari to the President Muhammadu Buhari passed away on April, 2020 politically conscious Nigerians had been inquisitive on who would succeed him.
Abba Kyari’s death from complications to the novel coronavirus infection which has been ravaging the world took control of the media space from the incident on April 17 with tributes from colleagues, friends and the media. It was reported that Mr. Kyari died few weeks after contracting the infection. The former Chief of Staff was a politician, journalist, technocrat, banker, administrator and a powerful presidential aide. Since he passed away, there have been speculations from many newspapers on who the president would appoint to fill the vacuum.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; Babagana Kingibe and Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs, Hammed Ali were those mentioned that could likely succeed Abba Kyari. However, a retired diplomat, Ibrahim Gambari on Tuesday, May 12, was appointed the new Chief of Staff to the President as was disclosed by presidential sources and the Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari. Sources also have it that Mr. Ibrahim Gambari is currently awaiting an official letter of confirmation.
The new Chief of Staff, 75 was born on November 1944 in Ilorin, Kwara State. He had his secondary education in King’s College, Lagos and subsequently attended the London School of Economics where he was awarded Bachelor’s degree in Economics with specialization in International Relations.
In 1969, he commenced a teaching career in City University of New York before working at University of Albany. Subsequently, he taught at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria which is regarded as the second largest University in Africa. Afterwards, he obtained his M.A (1970) and PhD (1974) degrees from Columbia University, New York, USA in Political Science and International Relations.
Between 1986 and 1989, he functioned as a visiting Professor at three Universities: Georgetown University, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Howard University which are situated in Washington DC, USA. Mr. Ibrahim Gambari was also a researcher at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC as well as a Resident Scholar at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center, the Rockefeller Foundation-run center in Italy.
In the course of service to the country, Nigeria Mr. Gambari was a well-known diplomat who has represented Nigeria in several International Conferences. When the President, Mohammadu Buhari was the Military Head of State, Mr Gambari served as the Minister for External Affairs within the period of 1984 and 1985.
Between 1990 and 1994, Mr. Gambari was the Chairman of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid during which he worked together with African governments towards coordinating UN policy to eradicate apartheid in order to build trust and confidence with governments and policymakers in member countries of Southern African Development Community. Moreover, between 1990 and 2012, Mr. Gambari was one of the five members of the Independent Eminent Experts on the Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the International level. Also, he was appointed by the Secretary-General of United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and the chairperson of the African Union Commission as Joint African-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur effective on January 2010. While speaking on his role in the International space, he stated that it was a great privilege to have worked under four Secretary Generals of the United Nations.
Mr. Gambari also earned some awards and recognitions such as third highest national honour, Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFR). In 2002, he received an award of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut and Farleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey in 2006. Other awards were: Honorary Doctorate of Public Service (2008) from Chatham University and Honorary Doctor of Letters (2011) from University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Also, on October 26, 2012, President Zuma bestowed the Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo which is regarded as the South Africa’s highest honour given to foreign citizens who have promoted their country’s interests and aspirations through co-operation.
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