Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari at exactly 11:30 am, shortly before the commencement of the inaugural virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC), announced Professor Ibrahim Gambari as his new Chief of Staff.
He was presented to council by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
A minute silence was observed in honour of former members of the Federal Executive Council at various times, including former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, late Chief Richard Akinjide, the late chief it staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, Halilu Alhassan, former minister of health, Paul Wampana and Minister of State for Public Health during the Second Republic.
Gambari, Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), who wore sky blue agbada over kaftan, arrived the presidential villa at 10:40 am and was received by Senior Presidency officials including the Director of Protocol, Alhaji Yakubu Ahmed, and the Permanent Secretary State House, Mallam Tijani Umar.
Others include the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs, Office of the Vice President, Amb. Abdullahi Gwari as well as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu who all ushered him into the Aso Chambers of the State House, Abuja.
Gambari, from Ilorin, Kwara State, was Minister of External Affairs under Buhari 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.
UNAMID under Gambari was the world’s largest international peacekeeping mission.
The opening prayer for the inaugural virtual FEC meeting was said by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, while the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono said a Muslim prayer.
Others physically present at the meeting are ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi,; Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Power, Saleh Mamma; and Commerce, Niyi Adebayo.
National Security Adviser Babagana Mungonu is also present at the Council chambers.
Other council members attended the meeting in the various offices.