*President chairs online FEC meeting
By Chesa Chesa
President Muhammadu Buhari has officially announced Professor Ibrahim Gambari as his new Chief of Staff to replace Abba Kyari, who died last month.
The announcement came during a video-conference meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) chaired by Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
Gambari had arrived the Villa earlier in the day and was received by Senior Presidency officials, including the Director of Protocol, Alhaji Yakubu Ahmed and the Permanent Secretary, State House, Mallam Tijani Umar.
He then joined the FEC after which opening prayers were said by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, and the minister of Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono.
Thereafter, a one-minute silence was observed in honour of former recent and distant-past members of the FEC, who died recently.
These include the late Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari; former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, late Chief Richard Akinjide; former Minister of Health, Halilu Alhassan; and Minister of State for Public Health during the Second Republic, Paul Wampana.
A few Ministers were physically present at the meeting, including Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Power, Saleh Mamma; and Commerce, Niyi Adebayo; as well as the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mungonu.
The rest of the cabinet members participated in the meeting online.
Kwara State-born Gambari was Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), and Minister of External Affairs under Buhari as a military head of state between 1983 and 1985.
He is currently the founder/chairman of Savannah Center External link in Abuja, a think-tank for research, training and public policy debate on the nexus between diplomacy (conflict resolution), democracy and development in Africa.
His last assignment at the United Nations was as the joint special representative of the Secretary-General and chairperson of the African Union Commission/head of the UN and AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) from January 2010 to July 2012.