President Buhari announces former UN Undersecretary as Chief of Staff

Several prominent Nigerians had been speculated as possible successors of the powerful and former Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, who died last month of Covid-19 infection. He was regarded as a defacto president by many Nigerians.
UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari talks to journalists during a press conference in Phnom Penh, 30 November 2007. UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari criticised the Myanmar junta’s continued arrest of dissidents following a crackdown on anti-government protests, saying further repression undermined national reconciliation. AFP PHOTO/ TANG CHHIN SOTHY (Photo by TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP)

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday formally appointed Professor Ibrahim Gambari, as his new Chief of Staff.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, announced the appointment on Wednesday at the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held on Wednesday. Mustapha is the cabinet secretary of the Nigerian government.

A presidential aide on new media, Bashir Ahmad confirmed this on his verified twitter handle.

“President @MBuhari has appointed Professor Ibrahim Gambari, as his Chief of Staff, Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, announced the appointment today at the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) Meeting”, Ahmad wrote.

Gambari is a former UN Under-Secretary General and the leaks by some Nigerian dailies had informally announced Jim without confirmation by presidency officials, making the issue controversial and misty in the turbulent politics of the West African country.

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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, Daily Trust wrote earlier.

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, Hameed Ali and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador 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.

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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). He holds the Nigerian national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic.

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Until his death last month, the late Chief of Staff, Kyari had been deemed too powerful by Nigerians who saw him more as the defacto president of Nigeria often regarding President Buhari as an absentee ruler.

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