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Gambari Assumes Duty As PMB’s Point Man

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The role of a chief of staff to the success of the president of a country is crucial. He provides a link between the commander-in-chief and his direct-reporting team. The chief of staff works behind the scene to resolve problems, mediate disputes, and deal with diplomatic issues before they are brought to the president. Indisputably, he acts as advisor, a sounding board for ideas and the most reliable confidante to the president.

Against the backdrop of the foregoing functions of the chief of staff to a president, the approval rating of President Muhammadu Buhari rose a notch following the appointment of Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari as replacement for his late Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari. Overwhelmingly, Nigerians for once agreed with President Buhari that at a time like this, the wealth of experience and technical know-how of Gambari is needed to further reinforce efforts of the administration to wriggle the country out of the economic and social morass it is enmeshed in.

The choice of Prof Gambari is one that has earned the president accolades, not only because of his bumper resume but also for the depth and strength of his character. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon described his appointment as Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari as a great asset to Nigeria and Africa ”in a broader sense.”

All the state governors, including those in the opposition party, agreed unanimously Gambari’s appointment is apt. In a letter signed by chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, the governors noted that Gambari’s “credentials, pedigree, experience and career trajectory both locally and globally speak to” his capability.

As a newspaper, we are persuaded to toe the same line of reasoning that Prof Gambari is taking office as an asset, not a liability. At a time of global inconsistencies, uncertainties and trials, an all-round persona like Gambari, who has been found worthy in character, competence and credibility and has made friends across global socio-political and economic divides, is the man for the job.

Currently, administrative finesse and candour are what the Nigerian government needs to steer the sheep of state on the path of sustainable growth, and there is a congruence of opinion that Gambari represents just that. One of Nigeria’s finest administrator, diplomat and scholar, apart from being Nigeria’s External Affairs minister 35 five years ago, he holds the record of being the longest serving Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations, serving under five heads of state and presidents from 1990 to 1999. He also served as the director-general of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).

Gambari held several positions in the United Nations, including president of UNICEF, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN and later its Under-Secretary General under Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon. His last appointment in the UN was from January 2010 to July 2012 when he was appointed by Ban Ki-moon and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission as the Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur.

After spending 12 years at the United Nations, Gambari returned to Nigeria to use his expertise and experience to help address the enormous developmental challenges that Nigeria, ECOWAS and Africa were grappling with. He established Savannah Centre to focus on the nexus within peace, democracy and development.

With this bumper resume, Prof Gambari, in our view, is better placed to bring stability to the Buhari administration, and if character and competence in public service are the credentials needed, possesses the qualities. He maintains dual personae as a reputable statesman both locally and internationally.

His contribution to making of the Nigerian nation is unquantifiable. He has also contributed immensely to the fine tuning of global politics and development. This explains why his appointment has drawn so much applause for President Buhari. We urge him to cease the opportunity provided by his new office to prove his critics wrong. The choice is his to put a lie to the claims made by disgruntled elements who in recent times have been throwing tantrums to distract a man that is yet to settle down to his duties as chief of staff to President Buhari.

 

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