Media speculation yesterday heightened about the possible appointment of a former United Nations Under Secretary, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, as new Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari. A top presidential aide told Daily Trust yesterday that no official statement had been issued on any such appointment and advised that no one should be guided by speculations on the matter.
Daily Trust was able to establish that Gambari, who is currently in Lagos, was invited to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, few days ago for what might be a discussion related to the position of Chief of Staff. Our source, however, maintained that “there is no job offer in the bag.”
Several prominent people had been speculated as possible successors of the former Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari, who died nearly three weeks ago, of COVID-19 infection.
Among names mentioned are the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Amb. Babagana Kingibe; the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hamid Ali and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Abubakar. Born in Ilorin, Kwara State, on November 24, 1944, Prof. Gambari attended Kings College, Lagos, as well as the London School of Economics where he obtained a B.Sc. (Economics) degree in Political Science with a specialty in International Relations.
Gambari received M.A. and Ph.D. in 1970 and 1974 respectively both in Political Science/International Relations from New York’s Columbia University. He had a brief stint lecturing at the City University of New York and the State University of New York (Albany) in 1969-74 and returned to Nigeria where he taught at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and rose to the rank of Professor in 1983.
He was appointed Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in October 1983, a position he held until his appointment as the youngest ever Minister of External Affairs during Buhari/Idiagbon regime. Gambari holds the record of being the longest serving Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations (January 1990 to October 1999). The Federal Government awarded him the national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic in 2003.
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