Gambari: A chance at Redemption

While Nigerians may have heaved a sigh of relief following the quite unfortunate death of the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari  of the incumbent President of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari who many has described an  autocratic figure and a quite divisive whose time as the Chief of Staff was marred by various incidence of power tussle and conflicts in the Aso Rock leaving the President exposed to various questions about who was really in-charge of the Aso Rock, the Cabal or President Muhammadu Buhari himself. The appointment of the new Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari left the nation surprised at the eventual choice of the President as against the speculated list of the big-guns which many Nigerians though would have made the spot.

However, while the choice of the President had gone down well with many Nigerians, the brilliant and amazing profile of Professor Ibrahim Gambari is tainted by a speckle from the past as the Nation’s history does not sit well with him. History they say can never be re-written as it is likened to an egg which once broken can never be fixed. It is either you look back into the past at certain event with pride and a beam of smiles etched on your face or you are struck with a pang of sadness as you bite your finger in regret. The reactions of notable Nigerians that trail the appointment of the new Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, only shows that the international scholar is in a loggerhead with history. You can’t pitch your tenth with the wicked and feign innocence.

The journey of Professor Gambari began through the terrace of power in his early 20s and after his introduction to the best of education as a political scientist in one of the best universities in the world, which happens to be one of the ivy league Universities in the United Kingdom, his early exposure and his brilliance made him stand aloft among his contemporaries as he is the youngest diplomat the Nation had ever had. Yet with his array of amazing profile which is capable of commanding respect in any part of the world, his character came into question by many Nigerians who were conversant with history

However, with all these achievements, the 79 Don is in a tussle with History.

There is apparently no historical perspective to Nigeria without these two symbolic events: annulment of the June 12 1993 election, and the unjust and arbitrary condemnation of the renowned environmental activist, Ken Saro Wiwa. The June 12th election could best be described as a political hullabaloo, as the election that flawlessly favored the then African richest man was erroneously annulled to elongate the dark days of military dictatorship, in the country. Ibrahim Babangida gave the order. But like you would expect, some sycophants played active role in the way a president-elect metamorphosed to be a prisoner. Injustice of such genre should be penned in capital, isn’t it! Our professor was part of those men of wonder.

The Ogonni born, Ken Saro Wiwa was sentenced to death for asking the government for the needful. Ogonni is a locale directly linked to the major source of revenue for Nigeria, it is oil rich. Government was milking the oil at the expense of the inhabitants of the community.  The brave Revolutionist armed himself with his ideology and took it upon himself to call the government to order, he was no doubt a pain to the most corrupt and callous president, of course after Buhari, in the history of Nigeria. Abacha persecuted Saro Wiwa. He went away with it. Some powerful enjoyed that tragedy of governance. Our professor was part of those men of wonder.

However it is quite refreshing for many Nigerians to see him taking an unusual approach unlike his late predecessor who was accused by many to have exercised a great deal of high-handedness and recklessness in not only handling the affairs of the Nation but also that of the First Family of the Federal Republic which painted the family in a bad light exposing them to various attacks from the media and Manipulations from external individuals. Since his appointment as the Chief of Staff to  President Muhammadu Buhari, the new Chief of Staff has taken his time to study the new rules of engagement of his new office as well as what his new responsibilities are as the Chief of Staff.

While the highly coveted office of the Chief of Staff to the President has no constitutional back-up, the position was created by Former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 1999. It was Obasanjo who created the office of the Chief of Staff and appointed the former Military Governor of Benue/Plateau State and former National Security Adviser, Major General Abdullahi Muhammed, to that post with Ambassador Aderemi Olagoke Esan as his deputy.

The office of the Chief of Staff do has its responsibilities which are clearly defined by the presidency. Quoting the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, the statement said it was the responsibility of the chief of staff to maintain presidential relationship with the other two arms of government, serve as the link between cabinet members and the president and simultaneously supervise State House staff.

Other functions of the Chief of Staffs are, Maintaining fluid communications in between the President’s Office and all of the Centre’s units as well as actors external to the Centre; Actively planning, coordinating and participating in strategic activities involving the President; Coordinating rapid action on policy and programming requests/opportunities arising for the Centre; and Provide information, analysis and advice to the President on any aspect of his responsibilities and act as a conduit for pertinent and often confidential information within and outside the Centre, from the Board of Governors, and throughout the Centre as a whole. More specifically: Keeping the President apprised of pertinent and sensitive matters that arise within the Centre and key information regarding IDRC’s role in Canada’s international efforts. The incumbent also provides advice on how to deal with these situations after analyzing options and potential impact. Playing a ‘gate keeper’ role by acting as the first point of contact for most of the requests coming to the President’s Office; Clarifying the needs, analysing requests by gathering all relevant information,   redirecting requests when required and preparing briefings on these requests to the President; Preparing the President for important meetings and events; Seeking relevant facts and information by contacting various internal and external stakeholders, analyzing the information by identifying options and priorities and provides verbal or written briefings to the President among many other functions.

While many as considered the late Abba Kyari as a loyal servant to his master, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, he was unfortunately considered as a terrible servant to the country Nigeria. However the emergence of Professor Gambari whose antecedent is tainted by various grave misgivings in the past, the Kwara born Elite seem on course to writing his wrong, putting himself in the good book of the Nation as he has quietly settled himself into the realities of his new office as he executes his duty without stepping on the toes of others, and without overstepping his boundary as the chief of staff to the President. It is the hope of every Nigerians that he continues to tread the path of peace and diplomacy , a trait which was not found in the dealings of his predecessor.



By Marcus Amudipe

August 12, 2020

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