The dialogue on who becomes the next chief of staff has, no doubt, dived into its eternal rest after Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, a former minister with an enviable record of erudition and diplomacy, was favoured to be Abba Kyari's successor.
On Tuesday, May 12, a new star beckoned in President Buhari's cabinet. And it was there it became clear that a new man has taken the big mantle of responsibility from where late Kyari dropped it.
Gambari, a 75-year-old Wambai of Ilorin Emirate, is expected to assume office on Wednesday, May 13, as a replacement for the late chief of staff.
The jostle for President Buhari's new 'gatekeeper'
Legit.ng recalls that since the death of Kyari as a result of coronavirus complications, big names in Nigeria's political echelon have been favoured to replace the Borno-born lawyer, businessman, economist and editor.
Among them were Adamu Adamu (minister of education), Boss Mustapha (secretary to the government of the federation), Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali, retd (Customs comptroller genera), Major General Mohammed Monguno (national security adviser), Hadi Sirika (minister of aviation ), Rotimi Amaechi (minister of transport) among others.
But on Tuesday, President Buhari took everyone by surprise with reports claiming he has favoured the Ilorin-born diplomat to continue the good job where his best friend of 45 years, Kyari, stopped.
Buhari was said to have had breakfast with his next chief of staff where he offered him the appointment.
Interestingly, the speculation became clear after Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, Emir of Ilorin, reportedly wrote the president for entrusting the position on the valorous son of the kingdom.
“Out of the list of about 14 candidates available to the President, Gambari is the least exposed to the vagaries of Nigerian politics. He is a diplomat and an international bureaucrat," a source from the presidency disclosed.
“The appointment was made to pick an apolitical fellow and to correct the mistake of the past where the Office of the Chief of Staff is exposed to politics and pressure from politicians."
But who is Professor Gambari - Nigeria's fifth chief of staff since 1999?
Born in Ilorin, Kwara state on November 24, 1944, Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari is a former minister of external affairs between January 1984 and August 1985.
He attended King’s College, Lagos for his secondary education and subsequently attended the London School of Economics where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Economics with specialisation in International Relations.
He later obtained his Masters degree (M.A.) in 1970 and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.) degree in Political Science /International Relations in 1974 from Columbia University, New York, United States (US).
Gambari began his teaching career in 1969 at City University of New York before working at University of Albany. He also taught at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), in Zaria, Kaduna State.
And he was a visiting professor at three universities in Washington, D.C: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Georgetown University and Howard University.
He was also a research fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. and a resident scholar at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center, the Rockefeller Foundation-run centre, in Italy.
The Royal blood
Gambari is blue blood of Ilorin Emirate of the Fulani ruling class family. His nephew, Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, is the Emir of Ilorin.
Stints in Nigeria's politics and international diplomacy
Gambari, a distinguished diplomat who has represented Nigeria in several international interfaces, was a minister of foreign affairs between 1984 and 1985 when Buhari was the military head of state.
He was also the chairman of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid between 1990 and 1994.
In January 2012, Gambari was appointed by the Secretary-General of United Nations (UN), Ban Ki-moon, as Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur.
Emir Sulu-Gambari thanked President Buhari.
After it became clear Gambari is the new CoS, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, Emir of Ilorin and chairman, Kwara State Council of Chiefs, on Tuesday thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Professor Gambari.
In a statement by his media aide, Abdulazeez Arowona, the emir described the appointment as the one that is justifiable based on the experience of the new CoS.
“The choice of the former diplomat would be justified by outstanding contributions, administrative experience, scholarship and excellence which he would inject into the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government towards ensuring good governance, democratic dividends as well as shared prosperity in the nation.
”While congratulating Professor Gambari on the new appointment, the monarch wished him a successful tenure in office even as he expressed confidence in his ability to justify the confidence reposed in him by President Muhammadu Buhari," part of the thank-you letter read.
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