• SGF presents him to FEC
• Tasks before Gambari — APC, Northern govs, ACF, Atiku, others
• I’ll serve Buhari to the best of my ability — Gambari
• He’ll add value to Buhari’s administration — Oshiomhole
By Clifford Ndujihe, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Therese Nanlong, Omeiza Ajayi, Dirisu Yakubu & Ibrahim HassanWuyo
TWENTY-SIX days after the death of Malam Abba Kyari, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, appointed former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, 75, as his chief of staff.
The appointment elicited plaudits from many sections of the polity who tasked Nigeria’s fifth CoS in the last 21 years to use his wealth of experience to help President Buhari provide good governance to the citizenry.
Among those who thumbed up his appointment were the All Progressives Congress, APC, Northern governors, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Senate President Bukola Saraki, Governors Babatunde Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara), and the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF.
Indeed, Gambari, whose appointment shocked many book makers as he was not in the list of those initially speculated to succeed Abba Kyari, promised undivided loyalty to the President.
In a chat with reporters, Gambari thanked President Buhari for the appointment and said his guiding principle will be “to serve the President to the best of my ability” because “I think he needs my loyalty, competence and support.”
SGF presents Gambari to FEC as Buhari’s new CoS
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, formally presented Professor Gambari to members of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, as the new Chief of Staff to the President yesterday.
Shortly before the commencement of the FEC meeting, Mustapha confirmed that President Buhari had approved Gambari’s appointment.
Gambari, who was Buhari’s Foreign Affairs Minister and confidant as military Head of State in the 1980s, replaced Malam Abba Kyari, who died on April 17 of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the new Chief of Staff has since resumed work. His first official duty was participating in the maiden virtual meeting of the FEC at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
At the meeting, a minute silence was observed in honour of three former ministers, namely; Richard Akinjide from Oyo State, Halilu Alhassan (Sokoto) and Paul Wanpana (Adamawa), and Malam Abba Kyari.
.President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and no fewer than seven ministers were physically present at the Council Chamber for the maiden virtual meeting of the council.
The Ministers include that of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono. Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
I’ll serve Buhari to the best of my ability — Gambari
Gambari, who assumed duties amid high expectations, said his allegiance would be to President Buhari, who he promised to serve to the best of his ability.
Speaking to State House correspondents, he said: “I want to thank the president of the Federal Republic for giving me this opportunity to serve him and of the country.”
Asked what Nigerians will be expecting from him as the Chief of Staff, with his wealth of knowledge, the diplomat said: “I have not started, so I will find out and maybe… I don’t report directly to the nation, I report directly to the President.”
On what the President should expect from him, he simply said: “I think he needs my loyalty, competence and support.”
On his guiding principle as he assumes duty, the former Permanent representative to the United Nations said “to serve the President to the best of my ability.”
Gambari, round peg in round hole — APC
Reacting to the appointment, ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, congratulated Professor Gambari on his appointment, describing him as a round peg in a round hole.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the APC noted that “without any iota of doubt, the appointment has, once again, demonstrated President Buhari’s avowed commitment to good governance by bringing on board competent Nigerians from all parts of the world to\ assist him in taking Nigeria to the Next Level.”
The ruling party added that Gambari’s experience and suitability for the strategic office of Chief of Staff was not in doubt.
“Indeed, Professor Gambari ticks all the boxes as a round peg in a round hole. The APC is confident that Gambari, a Prince of Ilorin Emirate, will bring to bear his scholarly intellect, international network, professional and administrative experience in ensuring smooth running of the office of the president and support the government to provide good governance and successfully deliver the Next Level programmes for the benefit of Nigerians.”
He’ll add value to Buhari’s administration — Oshiomhole
National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, also hailed the appointment of Gambari as “most sagacious” adding that the world-renowned diplomat and celebrated scholar would bring a lot of value to the Buhari administration in terms of new ideas, leveraging his clout as a global player.
His words: “For us in APC, we see the appointment of Professor Gambari as not only well-deserved but also reflective of the uncommon wisdom of President Buhari as the father of the nation. From his resume alone, you will see that the new Chief of Staff is eminently qualified and very experienced in public service.
“With this appointment, President Buhari has again demonstrated his knack for putting round peg in round hole.’’
Atiku, Saraki, others urge new CoS to revisit 2014 confab recommendations
Words of commendation also came from former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who urged Gambari to fall back on his huge experience and expertise to make the most of the job.
Atiku in a status update on his Facebook wall wrote: “Congratulations Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari on your appointment as Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari. It is my hope and expectation and those of millions of Nigerians that you will deploy your varied skills garnered over the years in the service of our nation.”
Also, immediate past President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, urged Nigerians to lend their support to Gambari
“I congratulate Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari on his appointment as Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari. Prof. Gambari is a decent man, a cerebral academic, disciplined diplomat and he is coming in with the necessary pedigree that will help him to do well on the job.’’
Northern governors, ACF, Sanwo-Olu laud Gambari
The Northern Governors’ Forum in a congratulatory message to Gambari by Chairman of the Forum and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, described his appointment as “most deserving and timely.”
Lalong, according to his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr. Makut Macham, said: “We are delighted with this opportunity that Mr. President has given Prof. Gambari to serve the nation. The Professor comes into the job with huge experience and knowledge on governance and service, which we believe will enable him perform well. As Northern governors, we assure him of our support and prayers as he takes on this very important role.”
The governors also commended the President for his choice of Professor Gambari as his new Chief of Staff, saying “his vast knowledge in administration both at home and abroad will assist the President in delivering on his campaign promises to Nigerians.”
On its part, the Area Consultative Forum, ACF, said it received with great joy news of Gambari’s appointment