President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday at exactly 11:30am, announced, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, as his new Chief of Staff shortly before the commencement of the inaugural virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Aso Rock.
Recall, the former Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari died on Friday, April 17, 2020, after he had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19.
However, Prof. Gambari was presented to the Council by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
This was even as a minute silence was observed in honour of former members of FEC at various times, including former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, late Chief Richard Akinjide, the late chief of staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, Halilu Alhassan, former minister of health, Paul Wampana and Minister of State for Public Health during the Second Republic.
Gambari, Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), dressed in sky blue Agbada over Kaftan, and arrived at the Presidential Villa at 10:40am.
He was received by Senior Presidency officials including the Director of Protocol, Alhaji Yakubu Ahmed and the Permanent Secretary State House, Mallam Tijani Umar.
Others include the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs, Office of the Vice President, Amb. Abdullahi Gwari as well as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu who all ushered him into the Aso Chambers of the State House, Abuja.
Gambari, from Ilorin, Kwara state, was minister of external affairs under Buhari as a military head of state between 1983 and 1985.
Prior to his appointment, Prof Gambari was the Founder/Chairman of Savannah Center for Democracy and Diplomacy Abuja, a think-tank for research, training and public policy debate on the nexus between diplomacy (conflict resolution), democracy and development in Africa.
His last assignment at the United Nations was as the joint special representative of the secretary general and chairperson of the African Union Commission/Head of the UN and AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) from January 2010 to July 2012.
UNAMID under Gambari was the world’s largest international peacekeeping mission.
The opening prayers for the inaugural virtual FEC meeting were said by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and the minister of Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono.
Others physically present at the meeting are Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Power, Saleh Mamma, and Commerce, Niyi Adebayo.
National Security Adviser, Babagana Mungonu was also present at the Council Chambers.
Other council members attended the meeting in their various offices.
PROFILE BUHARI’S NEW CHIEF OF STAFF, PROF IBRAHIM GAMBARI
Professor Ibrahim A. Gambari, CFR, OCORT, a scholar-diplomat, is the Founder/Chairman of the Board of Directors of Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, a non-governmental think-tank on research, policy studies, advocacy and training on the nexus between conflict prevention and resolution, democratisation and development in Africa.
He has had an illustrious career, spanning academia, government and international diplomacy, culminating with his appointment as the first United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa (1999-2005). He was the Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid (1990-1994) and on Peace-Keeping Operations (1990—1999). He was Head of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (2005-2007) and also operated as UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Cyprus, Zimbabwe and Myanmar and Special Representative in Angola.
Earlier, he was Minister of External Affairs (1984-1985) and subsequently Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations (1990-1999). Professor Gambari also served as Joint AU/UN Special Representative in Darfur and Head of UNAMID (2010-2012). He is currently a Chairperson of the Panel of Eminent Persons of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
Professor Gambari attended the Provincial (now Government) Secondary School, Ilorin before proceeding to the Floreat Collegium Kings College, Lagos. He received his BSc (Econs) degree from the London School of Economics (1968) and his MA and PhD in Political Science/International Relations (1970, 1974) from Columbia University, USA. He has taught at universities in the Unites States, Nigeria and Singapore and has to his credit the authorship of a number of books.
He has received several academic and national honours, including the “Commander of Federal Republic of Nigeria” (CFR), and the “Order of the Champion of the Oliver R. Tambo” (OCORT) of South Africa. He is the Pioneer Chancellor of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Ilorin, Nigeria, as well as the current Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Bayero University, Kano (BUK).
He is married with children and grandchildren.