News Politics & Policy

PMB beats pundits to pick Gambari as new CoS

In terms of qualifications, however, this would be considered an excellent and cosmopolitan pick, opting for a diplomatic veteran who is well known and well liked by heads of governments and many policy makers in Nigeria, in Africa and all over the world.

President Muhammadu Buhari took pundits completely by surprise today 13 May 2020 by tapping Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari to replace his late Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, who died last month from complications arising from Covid19.

In the buildup to the appointment, media searchlight had focused on a governor, a veteran politician, and a Grade A minister who were all considered closest to the president, until yesterday when speculations became rife that a totally different personality would take charge of the President’s domestic staff at Aso Villa.

Prof. Gambari resumed duties this morning as a formal announcement was made by Secretary to the Government, Boss Mustapha, hours before the Federal Executive Council meeting kicked off through teleconference.

In terms of qualifications, however, this would be considered an excellent and cosmopolitan pick, opting for a diplomatic veteran who is well known and well liked by heads of governments and many policy makers in Nigeria, in Africa and all over the world.

Before his retirement from the United Nation system where he rose to the rank of Under-Secretary General and Head of the Political Division, Gambari had traversed the globe in shuttle diplomacy, uniting countries wracked by internal divisions, including Cyprus in the Middle East, Apartheid South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola and Dafur in Africa, and Myanmar (formerly Burma) in Latin America.

See full Biography here

His education took him from Kings College Lagos to London School of Economics and on to New York, where he earned both an MA and a PhD at Columbia University.

Although he began his teaching career in New York, he eventually returned to Nigeria to teach at the Ahmadu Bello University, from where he switched to diplomacy on being appointed Directory General of the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos.

Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, as he then was, appointed him Minister of External Affairs. Years later, he became Nigeria’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations, from where he now migrated into a 12-year career after his national tour of duty in the world body.

The new Chief of Staff to the President is a suave and astute diplomat, well known and respected by many heads of government and policymakers all over the world.

His appointment may be seen as an effort by the President to walk back on some of the hawkish policies executed under the watch of the late Chief of Staff and from a group that Nigerians like to see as “the cabal in Aso Rock.”

It remains to be seen whether he would be able to use his well known charm and ability to pour oil over troubled waters and ultimately prevail to be able to create a new image for the Nigerian Presidency under Buhari’s watch.

Prof. Gambari is a prince from the Royal Family in Kwara State.