Gambari: Ilorin Prince, Seasoned Diplomat and Scholar Takes Charge as Buhari’s Chief of Staff

Prof Ibrahim Gambari

By Adedayo Akinwale

Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, the new Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, is coming on board Buhari presidency with a rich profile from the academia and international diplomatic circle. He also has a pedigree rooted in royalty. An Ilorin prince of the Alimi dynasty from the Ayelabowo Ruling House, Gambari was born on November 24, 1944, in Ilorin, Kwara State.

He attended King’s College, Lagos and went to the London School of Economics, where he obtained his B.Sc in 1968, with specialisation in International Relations.

He obtained his Masters degree in 1970, and later obtained his PhD in Political Science/International Relations in 1974 from Columbia University, New York, USA.

The new Chief of Staff began his teaching career in 1969 at City University of New York before working at University of Albany, He later taught at Ahmadu Bello University, in Zaria, Kaduna State.

He was a Visiting Professor at three universities in Washington, D.C, namely; John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Georgetown University and Howard University between 1986 and 1989.

Gambari has also been a research fellow at the Brookings Institution also in Washington D.C. and a Resident Scholar at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center, the Rockefeller Foundation-run center in Italy.

He was equally accorded, honoris causa, the title of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Bridgeport.

Gambari who is also a member of the Johns Hopkins University’s Society of Scholars, was decorated with the title of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) by the federal government.

His diplomatic career began in 1984 when he was appointed Minister of External Affairs by the then Military Head of State Major General Muhammadu Buhari. He later served as Nigeria’s permanent representatives to the United Nations in New York.

Gambari was appointed by the then Secretary General of United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission as Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur effective from 1 January 2010.

He also served as Special Adviser on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Issues for the Secretary-General of the United Nations. On June 10, 2005, He was appointed Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (USG) for the Department of Political Affairs (DPA).

In March 2013 the then Governor of Kwara State, AbdulFatah Ahmed, named Gambari as the pioneer chancellor of the Kwara State University.

His appointment as President Buhari’s Chief of Staff was first reported by THISDAY on Tuesday. He assumed office on Wednesday, participating  in the virtual Federal Executive Council meeting during which Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, announced his appointment officially.