The Office of the Chief of Staff (CoS) in Nigeria currently occupied by Professor Ibrahim Gambari was first introduced in Nigeria with the return of civil rule in 1999 under President Olusegun Obasanjo and its existence is said to have no constitutional premise.
Hitherto, former CoS Abba Kyari, President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) and his nephew Mamman Daura and their cohorts were known to their political foes as The cabal, who dominated Nigeria’s government since the 2015 elections. With the emergence of Gambari, the dynamics may change and a new Cabal is in the offing.
Although Gambari has known Buhari since the 1980s, Gambari lacks the personal ties of Kyari. Gambari has been in government as a foreign minister and ambassador for much of the past four decades.
Nigerian State House website says the staff of the office of the President perform the following functions: “administrative duties, protocol, security and media”.
Consequentially, CoS to the President is responsible for “managing the President’s schedule and correspondence and any other duties that may be assigned by the President”.
The man who has written plenty books on foreign policy and international relations’ new post as CoS stands as one of crucial political roles in Nigeria today. He inherited a complex job that demands absolute loyalty to his boss whilst Nigerians tend to expect more from him toward the public due to his exposure and intellectual capabilities.
Analysts say the President’s aversion to public appearances and crass dereliction of duties made his CoS a powerful interlocutor who will play the cards differently only with another Buhari-cabal.
It is further observed that Buhari will get physically weaker as the nation approaches the 2023 elections and Gambari is the crutch he would lean on for physical and intellectual support.
On this premise, the CoS’ nuances, gestures and affiliations will all be great indications toward what happens in Nigeria in 2023 except he is sacked before then.
The CoS Gambari attended King’s College, Lagos and subsequently the London School of Economics where he obtained his B. Sc. in Economics (1968) with specialisation in International Relations.
He stepped and bagged his M.A. (1970) and Ph. D. (1974) degrees from Columbia University, New York, USA in Political Science /International Relations.
His academic sojourn gained more momentum as he began his teaching career in 1969 at City University of New York before working at University of Albany.
Ahmadu Bello University, in Zaria, Kaduna State made him a lecturer later. From 1986 to 1989, he was Visiting Professor at three universities in Washington, D.C.: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Georgetown University and Howard University.
He’s been a research fellow at the Brookings Institution also in Washington D.C. and a Resident Scholar at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center, the Rockefeller Foundation-run center in Italy.