The news of the appointment of Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari to replace the late Patriot Abba Kyari as Chief of Staff (CoS) for President Muhammadu Buhari encouraged me a lot. He silenced hitherto agitated voices and what I consider, sick speculations from those who plan to use the vacancy to manipulate and hijack the Buhari Presidency.
I know Prof. Gambari for almost two decades and his life has inspired me in many ways. He is a retired academic, academic and retired diplomat who has already served our country as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He parades among other notable credentials, a record of the Ambassador of Nigeria who served the longest time at the United Nations, under five Heads of State and Presidents of Nigeria.
His experience and international influence do not hide his ability to fulfill his new mandate as Chief of Staff to the President. It is a position known to us as one of the most powerful and influential offices of the Presidency.
From my assessment and popular opinions, Professor Gambari is undoubtedly a match and a perfect replacement for the abandoned CoS. A patriotic and loyal Nigerian, Gambari is expected to be a unifying factor and bridge between the Presidency / government and Nigerians. It is a role that no one doubts that he has the character and has the competence to stand out.
But in Nigeria, we sometimes experience politics from impossible angles, ennobled by destructive intentions. There are the perpetual monks of power, the sharks in the corridors of power, the detractors, the sabs and a flood of competing interests that can be an obstacle in the progress wheel, others who strive to hinder his job of presiding over the Presidency.
Until Abba Kyari took office, many Nigerians underestimated the power and influence of the CoS position to the President and its centrality in the functioning of a vibrant Presidency. So all eyes are on Professor Gambari.
There is no denying that Professor Gambari is familiar with the political orientation of the Buhari Presidency and his growing interest in the battle against corruption and his determination to end the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria by any means. Gambari is aware that it is President Buhari's unwavering desire to improve the living conditions of Nigerians and leave the country better than he knew it.
Both the Presidency and Nigerians hope that the new CoS, like its predecessor, will adopt these ideals as its working document and keep them very sacred day and night. Vampires and political saboteurs who are desperate to thwart President Buhari in order to launch his presidency in the light of failure, would surely fall on the new CoS, Gambari voraciously. Let me assume that he is aware of the banana peels on the way to the office he occupies.
Those who have pathological hatred for President Buhari and his government would employ all antics to frustrate him. They would try to negatively influence or distort Gambari to achieve their demonic conspiracies to harm the government. It is up to the new CoS to invoke its Solomonic wisdom to make its way through the muddy waters of Nigeria's power game.
Therefore, the new CdS must always be vigilant at all times to empty and combat these harmful influences. I have known Professor Gambari for many years and I believe him as a personality who will carry out his mandate. He excelled at all tasks and this will be no different.
Gambari parades a basket full of impeccable credentials. Received from the third highest national honor, Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFR), in 2002, Professor Gambari has several honorary degrees (honoris causa) from prestigious universities, national and foreign.
Professor Gambari is a man whose entire life symbolizes laurels in various endeavors in life. In 2012, former President Jacob Zuma personally gave Gambari, the highest national honor in South Africa, the Order of Companions of O. R. Tambo, an award for non-citizens.
It is my belief that a highly educated and exposed man will not be sharpened by failure wherever he is obliged to do public service. I, like many other Nigerians, expect nothing less from Professor Gambari than that he actively use his wealth of experience to help President Buhari deliver to Nigerians his cardinal promises to achieve the change he promised. Gambari should position himself as a pillar for Buhari to update his vision on #NextLevel.
In President Buhari's humble tribute, he said something, I still consider it very instructive and pertinent that I wish to remind Professor Gambari to adopt as his operational principle.
The president wrote in homage that; “In political life, Abba never sought an elective position for himself. Instead, he opposed the vision and conduct of two generations of Nigeria's political establishment; who saw corruption as a right and their practice as a by-product of holding political office. Instead, he guaranteed satisfaction and his reward solely and only for improving the governance of this great country. "
From my interpretation of the President's mentality, he expects the occupier of the President's Chief of Staff's Office to overcome the weaknesses enunciated by these two generations of the political class in Nigeria. Gambari must effectively triumph over them. He must not allow political sycophants to approach the president, including those within him, but he distances himself mentally and philosophically from the administration's philosophy, because he does not believe in Mr. President and his agenda for Nigeria.
But most importantly, I think Professor Gambari should develop the instantaneous ability and cognition to identify and detach from those who see national security as an opportunity to make money. Our country is attacked by instigated insecurities.
President Buhari fought them until he stopped. The President is uncompromisingly concerned with ending the Boko Haram insurgency and ISWAP terrorism in the Northeast and allied insurgencies across the country. He wants to recover Nigeria from armed crime for Nigerians.
A few days ago, I read a report by some national newspapers about cleanup operations underway in the Northeast, where COAS and the leader of counterinsurgency operations, Lieutenant General TY Buratai, moved to mid-April 2020, leading Nigeria personally. troops in the final attack on the insurgency.
The report captured the content of a recent video released by Boko Haram's factional leader, Abubakar Shekau, profusely and pathetically lamenting the overwhelming heat of the battle at the hands of Operation Lafiya Dole's troops. In the 1:22 second audio, the leader of Boko Haram who spoke at Kanuri, sought the protection of Allah against the "diabolical act" of the Nigerian armed forces, lamenting the difficulties that faced them in this holy month of Ramadan.
Analyzing the video clip, a human rights lawyer and conflict analyst, Bulama Bukarti, said that "this is the first time we've heard Shekau cry like that". He further explained that: "The Shekau we are used to is a bombastic and cruel gangster who ridicules, mocks and mocks his victims … This suggests that the group is under immense pressure that threatens its existence".
We cannot afford to reverse the gains in insurgency. Some disgruntled Nigerians and political traders may try to use the Gambari Office to reverse the counterinsurgency gains. Therefore, I pray that Professor Gambari is extraordinarily vigilant in order to effectively control these forces.
He must avoid those who still think that change is impossible and will not stop for nothing to compromise the system. He must never delve into the satanic plots of enemies who have not been able to achieve his selfish goal of compromising the President's integrity.
The CoS must be firm, resolute, bold and always prepared to say "no" to the entrepreneurs around the corridors of power who still think that the Buhari presidency will continue as usual. It is also necessary for Gambari to strive to avoid shortsighted interests that would voluntarily be on a mission and agenda to destroy the principles that Buhari has built up throughout his life and career as a civil servant.
The new chief of staff, as one of the president's closest advisers, must watch and avoid the banana peels that his predecessor, Kyari, defeated until his death. As a tried and trusted patriot, I implore Gambari to consider the interests for which Mr. President voted in all his dealings supreme.
Finally, Professor Gambari must not forget that the Buhari government's success in the war against corruption and the insurgency is non-negotiable and must be sustained. Therefore, he must surround all external agents who would deliberately set out on a mission to deceive Mr. President through fictional groups and fraudulent individuals who will be cloned as public interest activists to offer Mr. President misleading advice.
I'm sure Gambari will deliver without any hassles. We can't wait to praise President Buhari for his wisdom in choosing Gambari at the end of the day.
Agbese wrote from the UK.