Former Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Prof Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, has been appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as hisnew Chief of Staff.

Gambari, a renowned super international technocrat, is a surprise appointment and was never in consideration for the post, based on permutations that has filled the air since the death of the former Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.

Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari was born in Ilorin, Kwara State on November 24, 1944. He attended Kings’ College, Lagos, the London School of Economics, and Columbia University, New York. He holds the B.Sc., M.A. & Ph.D. degrees in Political Science, with bias in International Relations.

Professor Gambari had a distinguished and fulfilling career as an academic, diplomat and international public servant. He was a lecturer at the City University of New York and the State University of New York, Albany, between 1969 to 1974.

He returned to Nigeria and joined the Ahmadu Bello University [ABU], Zaria as a Senior Lecturer in 1977, and rose to become a professor in 1983. As the Head of Department of Political Science at ABU, he established Nigeria’s first undergraduate programme in International Studies.

He was appointed Director-General of the prestigious Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, in October 1983, and few months later, he was named the Minister of External Affairs, a position he occupied till August 1985.Professor Ibrahim Gambari was appointed Director-General of the prestigious Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, he was named the country’s Minister of External Affairs a few months later, in which capacity he served until August 1985.

Shortly after his return to ABU, he was invited as Visiting Professor to John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; and further teaching schedules at Georgetown University and Howard University – both in Washington, D.C. He also served as a Research Fellow at Brookings Institution, Washington D.C.; and a Resident Scholar, Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study and Conference Centre, Italy.

Professor Gambari’s career witnessed another significant boost when he was appointed as Nigeria’s Permanent Representatives to the United Nations Headquarters, New York.

And during his tenure in that capacity, he was a senior member of the Nigerian Delegation to 11 consecutive sessions of the General Assembly, the 44th to 54th; he was President of the Security Council twice and chaired the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid.

He was also the chairman of the UN Special Committee on Peace-Keeping Operations for 9 years; and also served as a Trustee of the UN Institute of Training and Research, and also served as the President of the Executive Board of UNICEF, an important organ of the UN.

Gambari also served as Nigeria’s longest serving Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the United Nations, between 1990 and 1999; where he was actively involved, for over 13 years, in several conflict resolution missions on behalf of the UN.

He was for six months, the Un’s Secretary General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Mission to Angola, UNMA, where he facilitated the successful conclusion of the peace process of the Lusaka Protocol.

Gambari was appointed UN Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Political Affairs in 2005, where he acquitted himself creditably well and less than four years later, he was invited by the UN Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, to serve as Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur, in Sudan.

After that assignment, he was named Special Adviser on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Issues for the UN Secretary-General.

The author of many publications, including books, articles and presentations, which have become reference sources for scholars and researchers across the world, Prof Gambari was pioneer Chancellor of Kwara State University, Ilorin.

Holder of the national award of Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR, Prof. Gambari is the first African to be named Honorary Professor by Chugsan University, founded by and named after Dr. Sun Yat Sen, leader of the 1911 Peasant Revolution and pioneer President of Nationalist China.

Amongst his many honours were Honourary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Bridgeport, USA; and membership of the prestigious Johns Hopkins University’s Society of Scholars.

Prof. Gambari, the founder and chairman of Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, a think tank for research, training and public policy, is happily married with children.


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