- Gambari, 75, succeeds Abba Kyari who died from complications from COVID-19 nearly a month ago.
Ibrahim Gambari is the new Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Presidency confirmed on Wednesday.
The appointment was announced at a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Kyari, who was in his 70s and had underlying health problems including diabetes, was the highest profile death due to the disease in the West African country. He was viewed as one of the most powerful individuals in Africa’s most populous nation.
Gambari is currently a Chairperson of the Panel of Eminent Persons of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
Gambari, a career diplomat, has previously served as Nigeria’s Minister of External Affairs under Buhari in the 1980s. He was also a Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to various countries and Joint AU/UN Special Representative in Darfur and Head of UNAMID.
According to an academic at the French Institute of International Relations, Gambari’s appointment should probably allow President Buhari, who usually has very little focus on international issues, to develop a more effective foreign policy.
Gambari was appointed by President Buhari from the list of 14 names submitted to him.
“He’ll play a more traditional role as chief of staff to a president, compared to Kyari, with the added bonus of international relations expertise thanks to his experience and extensive networks abroad,” Benjamin Auge told AFP.
A political analyst, Dapo Thomas, said the appointment will give more credibility, recognition, and respect to President Buhari.
Gambari’s appointment will strengthen International diplomacy in Nigeria due to his sterling repertoire in international relations.
“Gambari is a seasoned and respected diplomat who has played significant roles in the international arena,” Thomas told AFP.