Speculations permeate Nigeria’s social media space on Tuesday that President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed former UN envoy, Professor Ibrahim Gambari as his new chief of staff (COS).
Presidency sources have kept mute over the rumour, but there were no denials as well.
A source however told Judicial Sketch that the secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, who would have formalised the appointment of any new COS, has been neck-deep in the COVID-19 Task Force activities.
Wednesday’s federal executive council (FEC) meeting is expected to put to rest all the speculations surrounding the appointment. Even though the meeting would not hold physically as has been the tradition since the former COS contracted COVID-19, virtual interaction among members of the FEC can iron out any issue of importance.
A number of candidates have been linked to the position since the demise of the former COS, Abba Kyari.
Among those mentioned to have been considered are former vice presidential candidate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe; former state security service director general, Lawal Daura; Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-rufai; and Nigerian Customs Service Comptroller General, Hameed Ali.
It is instructive to note that Gambari had once served in the administration of Muhammadu Buhari when he was military Head of State in 1983.
Professor Gambari hails from Ilorin, Kwara State. He was born on November 24, 1944, 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.
He received M.A. and Ph.D. in 1970 and 1974 respectively both in Political Science/International Relations from New York’s Columbia University, and taught briefly at the City University of New York and the State University of New York (Albany) in 1969-74.
He returned to Nigeria where he taught at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and rose to the rank of Professor in 1983. He was Head of the Department of Political Science between 1982 and 1983, where he founded the first undergraduate programme in International Studies in Nigeria.
Professor Gambari 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 administration after in 1983.
He had served in various academic capacities: He was Visiting Professor at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, in Baltimore; lecturer at both Georgetown University and Howard University in Washington, D.C.; a Research Fellow at Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C and a Resident Scholar at Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study and Conference Centre, Italy.
Prior to joining the UN Secretariat in December 1999, Professor Ibrahim Gambari holds the record of being the longest serving Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations (January 1990 to October 1999).
As Nigeria’s Ambassador to the UN, he was a senior member of the Nigerian Delegation to ten consecutive sessions of the General Assembly (44th to 54th); he also served as President of the Security Council on two occasions (May 1994 and October 1995).
Apart from chairing the UN Special Committee on PeaceKeeping Operations from 1990-1999, he led several United Nations missions, including the Special Committee against Apartheid and the Security Council missions to South Africa, Burundi, Rwanda and Mozambique.
He founded the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, a non-governmental body which preoccupation to critically analyse problems of conflict prevention, management and resolution, as well as democratization and sustainable development in Africa.