Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, the newly appointed Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, has resumed official duties today, Monday, May 18, The Street Journal reports.
Professor Gambari was appointed as the new Chief of Staff on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.
His appointment came after the former Chief of Staff, Late Abba Kyari died on the 17th of April as a result of complications arising from the novel coronavirus.
In a statement made during a meeting with officials of the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President today, May 18. The Chief of Staff said he was ready and willing to work with them if and only they are willing and ready to work with him.
Professor Gambari said he would like individuals who were hardworking, responsible and loyal to be on his team, noting that working with individuals with lackadaisical and nonchalant attitudes was not part of his agenda.
Professor Gambari said he would only work with those whose loyalty would be directed to President Buhari, just as he had promised to serve President Buhari dutifully.
It would be recalled that Gambari said he would not be answerable to anybody except the President, which he took the oath of office to serve.
Headline News365 had earlier reported that Professor Gambari said his primary allegiance would be to President Muhammadu Buhari and not the public. Gambari who showed gratitude to President Buhari for deeming him worthy to serve in the new capacity added that he would put in his utmost best to serve the President.
“I thank the President of the Federal Republic for giving me the opportunity to serve him and of course, the country,” he said.
Gambari who reiterated his loyalty to President Buhari said, “we have not started, I’ll have to find out. I don’t report directly to the nation, I report to the President”.
He said his loyalty, competence and support was what he had to offer the President adding that his guiding principle as Chief of Staff would be “to serve the President to the best of my ability.”
On assumption of his official duties, the Chief of Staff directed the officials that all Memos which were directed to President Muhammadu Buhari must pass through him. He stressed that under no circumstance should any document be given to the president. He noted that any document that would find its way to the table of the President must be have been accessed, evaluated and duly signed and stamped by him.
Professor Gambari further explained that the presidential directive that was in place during the time of his predecessor, Late Abba Kyari will still stand. This presidential directive was that all the Ministers appointed by President Buhari must have to pass through the Office of the Chief of Staff, and also all appraisal reports from their various ministries must be directed to the Chief of Staff.
This means that all of Nigeria’s Ministers do not have direct access to the President, however, they must pass through Professor Gambari before they can relay any information to President Buhari.
Headline News365 believes that this will not go own well the ministers because we had exclusively reported that the ministers were lobbying for one amongst them to become President Buhari’s Chief of Staff. However, Professor Gambari’s appointment came as a shock to them.
The reason the Ministers were making this move was for the purpose of achieving “better synergy”.
It also stated that the ministers believed that a Chief of staff to the president from their fold would be “able to fast-track decision making on issues”.
The report quoted a top “source” as follows “… their argument is that it will enhance synergy between the President and his cabinet since the Ministers now report to the Chief of Staff…”
Findings from this report suggested that the Ministers were not altogether satisfied with the way things went under the Late Chief of Staff.
Of course, no functionary can be scored 100 per cent but the Ministers’ current disposition raises further scepticism over the performance of the late Abba Kyari on whom many Nigerians have written several testimonials – both good and bad – since his death.
It is important to note that based on our investigation, none of President Buhari’s aides or political allies were privy to the nomination of Professor Ibrahim Gambari as a possible replacement for the Late Abba Kyari.
According to our source, the choice of Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari was suggested to Mr President by Malam Isa Funtua and Mallam Mamam Daura, who many believe are the cabals running President Buhari’s government.
Following the successful completion of the meeting, all officials of the Office of the Chief of Staff assured Professor Gambari of their ultimate support and promised that their loyal will go to the president alone and nobody else.
Gambari’s appointment came with several congratulatory messages including good wishes from former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and many others.
A felicitation worthy of note was that from Lekan Fadina, a former general manager of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE). Mr Fadina described the new Chief of Staff as a well-groomed diplomat whom he has known for about three decades.
“He is widely known, respected within the diplomatic and international community for his outstanding performances. He is an outstanding scholar who has delivered many papers on various topics. He has spoken in different fora about international relations, Nigeria unity, harnessing Nigeria great potentials, diversification of Nigeria economy, cultural diversity, religion and authority.
“He believes that every Nigeria has the right as the other person and as such respect for one’s right and maintenance of a disciplined society. He frowns at the abuse of public office and to him, service to humanity is the greatest service of man.
“He believed that leaders must show by examples and deal with the people with fairness. He believes in conversation, sharing knowledge and intellectual discourse as an instrument of involving participation from the bottom of the pyramid,” Mr. Fadina said.
While there are several reports that out of all political appointees of President Buhari, Professor Gambari is the only the one who has the most impressive Curriculum Vitae, it is important for us to take a look at his portfolio.
Mr. Gambari who was born in Ilorin, Kwara State on November 24, 1944, is a Nigerian scholar and diplomat. He attended King’s College in Lagos and subsequently attended the London School of Economics where he obtained his B.Sc. Economics degree in 1968 with specialisation in International Relations.
Gambari later obtained his M.A. (1970) and Ph. D. (1974) degrees from Columbia University, New York, USA in Political Science /International Relations.
Gambari began his teaching career in 1969 at City University of New York before working at University of Albany and later taught at Ahmadu Bello University, in Zaria, Kaduna State, the second-largest university in Africa.
From 1986 to 1989, 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 has also been a research fellow at the Brookings Institution also in Washington D.C. and a Resident Scholar at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center, the Rockefeller Foundation-run centre in Italy. He was accorded, honoris causa, the title of Doctor of Humane Letters (D.Hum.Litt.) from the University of Bridgeport.
He is a member of the Johns Hopkins University’s Society of Scholars. He was decorated with the title of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) by the Government of Nigeria.
The new chief of staff was Minister for External Affairs between 1984 and 1985. He later assumed the position of the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations and Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations from 1990 -1999.
In 1999, Prof. Gambari became the President of the Executive Board of UNICEF until the year 2000 when he was appointed Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Special Adviser on Africa till 2005.
He later became the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Department of Political Affairs from 2005 to 2007.
Gambari was also appointed by the secretary-general of United Nations Ban Ki-moon and the chairperson of the African Union Commission as Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur.
He was appointed the Special Adviser on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Issues for the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
On March 4, 2013, Ibrahim Gambari was named by the Kwara State Governor, AbdulFatah Ahmad, as the pioneer Chancellor of the Kwara State University, making him the ceremonial head of the university who presides over convocations to award degrees and diplomas and also supports the vision and mission of the university in all respects, including fundraising, social, economic and academic goals.
As a university that continues to gain credence as a community development university with world-class standards, the selection of Gambari, with his outstanding intellect and exposure was expected to give the institution additional international boost and recognition.
Gambari is also co-chairman of the Albright-Gambari Commission.
Professor Gambari’s life demonstrates a life of service, both in Nigeria and the international arena, and his reasoned interventions that seek to end conflicts in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world. His exemplary lifestyle, scholarship, integrity, diplomacy and knowledge-based efforts to groom the youth, who represent the future, are worthy of emulation.
He is generally spoken of as a selfless mentor, a guru and a golden man with a golden heart worth celebrating.
One of his key contributions to our understanding of Nigeria’s foreign policy is the theory of concentric circles, which he developed. An approach that places the interests of Nigeria first. The centre of the circles has Nigeria’s security, territorial integrity and political independence. The second circle embraces the West African region with the ECOWAS countries, and the third circle is Africa, while the final one is the rest of the world. No wonder Dele Giwa once opined, “Emotions have no place in diplomacy.
It is the stuff of the cunning and the amoral and even the intensely intellectual. The timid don’t get involved in diplomacy. When they do, their countries suffer”.
Professor Gambari has deep religious beliefs and values; excellent interpersonal relationships, administrative sagacity and intellectual fecundity gelled together to produce an Institution in his person. He will often say; one thousand friends are not enough but one enemy is one too many.
Professor Gambari has always asked questions like how is the government engaging NGOs, Civil Society Groups and ‘non-state” actors in this change mantra? Is there a national conversation held to reduce the huge and growing costs of governance at the local, state and federal levels?
His key principle is that one should only place in authority, people that have shown a consistent commitment to the nation and its interests.
Many believe that for President Buhari and his team to have selected Professor Gambari out of several other nominees they must have had in mind, it means that he has a lot of knowledge and experience the president needs to drive the ”Change Agenda” in Nigeria.