APC, Tinubu, govs hail Gambari as Buhari unveils new Chief of Staff - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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APC, Tinubu, govs hail Gambari as Buhari unveils new Chief of Staff

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd)’s new Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, on Wednesday assumed office with a promise to serve to the best of his ability.

The 76-year-old former Minister of External Affairs was announced as the President’s CoS shortly before the start of the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The confirmation came after nearly 24 hours of speculation as to whether he was indeed the new CoS, as the Presidency played a waiting game of silence that ended on Wednesday.

It was the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, on behalf of Buhari, who made the announcement at the meeting, which was also attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

I’ll serve to the best of my ability –CoS

Gambari later spoke at a brief interview after he assumed duties.

He said what Buhari needed most from him was his loyalty and competence.

The former Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations promised to give his best.

As he walked out of the Council Chambers of the State House, the following interaction took place between him and the few media houses listed to cover the villa in the interim.

Gambari: I want to thank the President of the Federal Republic for giving me this opportunity to serve him and the country.

Reporters: What should Nigerians expect from you?

Gambari: I have not started, so I will find out and maybe… I don’t report directly to the nation, I report directly to the President.

Reporter: What should he expect from you?

Gambari: Maybe you should ask Mr President (general laughter). I think he needs my loyalty, competence and support.

Reporter: What will be your guiding principle as the chief of staff?

Gambari: To serve the President to the best of my ability.

The new CoS, who hails from Ilorin, Kwara State, had arrived at the villa around 10.53am and was welcomed by the State House Chief of Protocol, Alhaji Yakubu Ahmed; the Permanent Secretary, Mr Tijani Umar,  and some senior directors in the Presidency.

Gambari was screened on arrival for COVID-19. He had his temperature checked by waiting medical personnel, who also gave him a hand sanitiser before he was ushered into the main building.

Wearing a sky blue babanriga and a native cap to match, he chatted heartily with the officials, as they led him to the council chambers.

A Presidency source informed The PUNCH that as was the tradition, Gambari would take full briefings from Buhari and use the next few days to peruse files, and “other official matters left on the desk by his predecessor.”

Gambari replaced the late Abba Kyari, who died on April 7 from COVID-19 complications.

Earlier, Buhari and the ministers had observed a minute’s silence in honour of Kyari. The same was observed for a former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, late Chief Richard Akinjide; a former Minister of Health, late Halilu Alhassan, and the late Paul Wampana.

Physically present at the session were the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Power, Saleh Mamma; and Minister of Commerce, Niyi Adebayo.

APC hails Gambari, promises him support

The All Progressives Congress, while congratulating the President on the appointment, promised to support and cooperate with Gambari to ensure he succeeded in his assignment.

In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the APC said the former Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations was a round peg in a round hole.

The party said, “The APC is confident that Gambari, a prince of Ilorin Emirate, will bring to bear his scholarly intellect, international network, professional and administrative experience in ensuring smooth running of the office of the President and support the government to provide good governance and successfully deliver the next level programmes for the benefit of Nigerians.”

He is best man for the job –Gbajabiamila

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, both congratulated Gambari on his appointment.

Gbajabiamila, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said the new CoS was the right man for the job.

He noted that as a foremost diplomat and academic, Gambari would bring his experience of decades to bear in his new national assignment.

The Speaker said, “I wish him a successful period in office as he takes the onerous task of being the Chief of Staff to the President.”

Wase described the appointee as one of the finest in his field globally.

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