On different occasions, people have openly accused the late chief of staff (Abba Kyari) of holding the president to ransom including the wife of the president. The claims were fast becoming rational that anyone could believe it. A lot has transpired at the Presidency which brandished the late Chief of Staff (CoS) as the acting President. However, Kyari’s death received mixed feelings from Nigerians owing to several accusations and controversies emanating from the office. He was a good man, many insisted.
The expectation on who the next CoS would be was not really an interest for Nigerians, especially with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. More so, since the role is based on the President’s discretion most Nigerians were concerned about the President getting the right person – someone who is a professional and also non-controversial too.
Being that the President, Buhari has fashioned an image of a man who takes his time and in exactly 25days after the death of Abba Kyari, he has appointed a new CoS, Professor Agboola Ibrahim Gambari.
Could that right man be Prof. Gambari? Although he hasn’t been a household name in the Nigerian political arena and amongst the common man. Potentially, Prof. Gambari wears a figure of a non-controversial, not to be a surrogate president or a de facto president but someone who could help President Buhari set things right at the Presidency based on the past happenings and also following his background.
Before his appointment as CoS, Prof. Gambari was;
- The Nigerian Minister of External Affairs from 1984 and 1985.
- The chairperson of the African Union Commission as Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur from 2010 to 2012.
- The Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations from 1990 to 1999.
- The President of UNICEF in 1999.
- The Special Adviser on Africa Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1999 to 2005
- The pioneer Chancellor of the Kwara State University in 2013.
- The Founder, Savannah Centre for Abuja.
Prof. Gambari is currently the Special Adviser on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Issues for the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The proven diplomat is an indigene of Kwara State and a distinguished Scholar. Prof. Gambari attended King’s College, Lagos. He got a Bachelor’s in Economics from the London School of Economics in 1968 with a specialization in International Relations. In 1970 and 1974, he got M.A. and Ph. D. degrees from Columbia University, New York, the USA in Political Science, and International Relations respectively. As part of his many accomplishments, he was a lecturer of the great Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, from 1977 to 1980. In 2012, Prof. Gambari received the President Jacob Zuma award in South Africa (the highest honour for non-citizens). Amidst many Nigerians of International repute, the president has chosen Prof. Gambari to do the job of his CoS. The skies are blue and the expectations are high from this sensitivity seat and echelon of power in the Presidency.
President Buhari has unveiled his choice today looking beyond his circle. This is a welcomed idea but time will tell whether he learned from or took into consideration the previous controversies surrounding the late Kyari and the CoS office. What is very clear now is that the choice President Buhari has made, just like in other key appointments, would have far-reaching implications for his administration and the entire nation, either positively or negatively. The honest belief of many Nigerians is that Prof. Gambari will change the narratives in a more positive manner.
I wish Professor Gambari the best outcomes in his newest appointment as CoS as he upholds the honour and glory of our beloved country Nigeria.