Finally, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd .), unveiled a new Chief of Staff on Wednesday, May 13.
He is Prof Ibrahim Agboola Gambari. His name rings a bell, having served Nigeria in various positions, both local and international.
A scholar and diplomat, Gambari was born on November 24, 1944, in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Not being a new person to Buhari, the new CoS was Nigeria’s Minister for External Affairs from1984 to 1985.
He is also the Founder/Chairman of the Board of Directors of Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development. This is a non-governmental organisation that focuses on “research, policy studies, advocacy and training on the nexus between conflict prevention and resolution, democratisation and development in Africa.”
At the international level, he held many key diplomatic positions such as the first United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa (1999-2005). Gambari was also the Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid (1990-1994) and on Peace-Keeping Operations (1990-1999)
Similarly, the new CoS 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.
Beginning from 1990-1999, Gambari was Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations . Other positions were serving as Joint AU/UN Special Representative in Darfur and Head of UNAMID (2010-2012). Until his appointment by Buhari, Gambari was a Chairperson of the Panel of Eminent Persons of the African Peer Review Mechanism.
On his academic journey, the CoS went to the Provincial Secondary School, Ilorin, and later proceeded to the Floreat Collegium Kings College, Lagos.
In 1968, he received his BSc (Econs) degree from the London School of Economics and his Master’s and PhD in Political Science/International Relations (1970, 1974) from Columbia University, USA. He has been a teacher at universities in the Unites States, Nigeria and Singapore and “has to his credit the authorship of a number of books.”
A holder of several honours, the list includes “Commander of Federal Republic of Nigeria” (CFR), and the “Order of the Champion of the Oliver R. Tambo” (OCORT) of South Africa. Gambari had also served as the pioneer Chancellor of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Ilorin and was the servvivng Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Bayero University, Kano (BUK).
The new CoS is married man with children and grandchildren.
On Wednesday, he replaced the late Abba Kyari, who died on April 7 due to COVID-19 complications.