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Buhari chairs online FEC meeting: Why Gambari was made Chief of Staf

*His appointment laudable, says Tinubu

* FEC approves N47bn for 40mw of electricity

By Chesa Chesa, Williams Orji, Abuja

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 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’s Administration 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.

Northern governors, others react to Gambari’s appointment

Meanwhile, reaction have continued to trail the appointment of Ibrahim Gambari as Chief of Staff Northern governors react to Gambari’s appointment

The Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) has congratulated Ibrahim Gambari on his appointment as Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Their reaction was contained in a statement on Wednesday by the chairman of the forum and Governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong.

NGF described Gambari as an accomplished diplomat and administrator.

They said his vast experience and qualifications would help him discharge his duties diligently.

“The professor comes into the job with huge experience and knowledge on governance and service, which we believe will enable him to perform.

“As Northern governors, we assure him of our support and prayers, as he takes on this very important role,” Lalong noted.

On his part, Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, has reacted to the appointment of Ibrahim Gambari as President Muhammadu Buhari’s new Chief of Staff.

Reacting to Gambari’s appointment, Keyamo lamented over the bias of some Nigerians towards key government appointees.

In a tweet, the Minister expressed his disappointment that Nigerians research the tribe of new appointees before searching out their qualifications.

He tweeted: “Profound congratulations also from us to Professor Ibrahim Gambari. We are extremely proud and excited to have him on board.

“It is quite sad that we have pushed ourselves to the point in this country that when any public appointment is announced, most Nigerians would first research the tribe of the appointee before they research his academic qualifications and competence for the job!”

Also, the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu described the appointment of Prof. Gambari as a laudable one.

Tinubu, in a statement on Wednesday, noted that Prof. Gambari is a renowned diplomat, statesman and scholar who has served Nigeria in many important positions.

The APC leader pointed out that Gambari’s intellect, broad experience and skills in administration and diplomacy have adequately prepared and equipped him for the important job he now has.

According to him, “I congratulate Professor Gambari on his selection and commend President Buhari for making such a thoughtful and prudent choice at this crucial moment.

“Prof. Gambari will work competently and with dedication to help President Buhari advance his policy and governance priorities just as he did in the past when he served as Minister of External Affairs in the 1980s.

“My personal knowledge of Chief of Staff Gambari is that he is an erudite man who knows and loves this country and who strongly believes in the Nigerian project and President Buhari’s change agenda. He is no stranger to our party, APC, and its progressive national vision.

“Over a long and illustrious career, Prof. Gambari has proved his mettle nationally and internationally. His resume takes a back seat to none.

“He distinguished himself as an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Cyprus, Zimbabwe and Myanmar and Special Representative in Angola.

“He has made groundbreaking contributions in the areas of conflict prevention and resolution, democratization and development in Africa

“At this time when the entire world is combating the coronavirus pandemic and the economic consequences thereof, Prof. Gambari’s expertise and international reputation will help Nigeria galvanise national, regional and international efforts and resources to contain this viral menace and to advance Nigeria’s interests on other important matters.

“Chief of Staff Gambari has my best wishes and encouragement. His is a tough assignment, perhaps the hardest he has had, but he is a special person with great attributes.

“He will meet the challenge by discharging his duties with excellence and high purpose.

“May the guidance and protection of Almighty Allah be with him as he begins the task of assisting the President in forging a better Nigeria and a better life for all of its people.”

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