By Adamu Aliyu
About this time last year, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled his new Chief of Staff, after the sad passage of the occupant of the office, Mallam Abba Kyari.
The new Chief of the Presidential Villa was none other than respected academic and International diplomat, Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari. The choice received wide plaudits, both from home and abroad. Gambari was sure a round peg in a round hole. A perfect fit.
The new Chief and Muhammadu Buhari were by no means strangers. In his first incarnation as military head of state (December 1983-August 1985), young Gambari was Minister of External Affairs to Buhari. He served well, and no wonder he got another nod 35 years later.
But as Gambari clocks one year in office, the hounds have come after him. The coyotes are baying for blood, which, unfortunately, is often the lot of public officers in this country, no matter how altruistic the officer is.
I have read a malicious piece making the rounds on social media, under the headline, ‘The Truth Gambari Must Hear About Himself.’ What a cruel hatchet job! Only a spiteful mind could have conceived and conjured such venom, no wonder the piece bears no attribution. The scuba diver went under the sea to do evil, and cowardly kept off his name.
What was the piece saying, in summary? Prof Gambari no longer picks phone calls. He has not used his position to help his people in Kwara in any way. His son now receives patronage and gratification from business men. He is not deploying his elevated position to find solution to the myriad of problems besetting the nation. He is not feared or respected in the Presidential Villa, unlike his predecessor. And on and on.
Now, should we begin to disturb the eternal sleep of Abba Kyari, after he has completed his course and gone to rest? Unconscionable. The dead deserves his rest, and it is a fate that awaits every mortal.
Comparing Gambari with Kyari, all in an effort to run down the former, is mean, dishonorable and reprehensible. Sadly, some people don’t know better. Style is peculiar to individuals. Kyari had his own, and Gambari has his. Those who know how the Villa runs now attest to the fluidity of processes under Gambari, without necessarily impugning Kyari’s style. He has played his part, and is off the stage of life.
The writer claims he has called the phone number of Prof Gambari repeatedly, without getting a response. So, what law has been broken? Doesn’t he know the pressures of the office of the Chief of Staff to a President? The situation calls for understanding, rather than condemnation.
Don’t we equally pile too much on people who hold public offices, and when we can’t have our way, we turn round to flagellate them unduly? If you, or any other person, can’t get a COS on the phone, it is no reason to conclude that he has changed, and joined the oppressors. That would be unkind, even cruel.
Why do we often believe the worst about people who hold elevated public offices, whether they have wronged us or not. Bile? Malice? Jealousy? But Prof Gambari has served far and wide, home and abroad, and acquitted himself creditably, so why begrudge him what the author called ‘a retirement position,’ in which he is also discharging his duties effectively?
The ghost writer alleges libelous things against Gambari and his son, as grievous as bribery and corruption. And what evidence has he adduced? He only quoted an online publication, without a shred of evidence. Shame. Must you run a man down by all means, without the slightest justification?Shame, again shame.
If those gunning for Gambari wish to know, the man is not being defined by his position as COS. He had been long proven, tested, and defined. He has just merely come to use that hard earned reputation to serve the President. Those of us who have known him for decades will attest to that.
When he came to the position in May, last year, Gambari granted an interview to Channels Television, and it is about the only interview in record against his name. He said he had come to government to help President Buhari succeed, and would be loyal and answerable to him and him alone. So, what’s all the trash about not using his position to help his native Kwara State? Doesn’t the state have a Governor, deputy governor, Senators, House of Representatives members, State Assembly members, local government chairmen, who have all been elected to serve their people? So why wait for a Chief of Staff at the Federal level, before things get done. Come on!
The hatchet piece says Gambari has contributed in no way to bringing peace to a currently troubled country. Ignorance. How many peace sorties has the COS embarked on, to different regions of the country? How many peace missions has he led, as representative of the President? One can only pity ignorant people.
The shadowy writer concluded the piece by saying Gambari would one day return to the society, “after brief luxury of power.” Ridiculous mindset. Gambari is no stranger to lofty positions, and the appurtenances thereof. Saying he would return to society “without honor and respect “ can only be an evil wish of the writer.
It won’t come to pass. Honor and respect are earned, and Gambari long got his stripes.