Prof Gambari on how Buhari approached me to serve in his government 35 years later.

Professor Ibrahim Gambari, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, has detailed some of his principal’s attributes that others may not be aware of.

Buhari, according to Gambari, is a person who rewards loyalty and does not ‘use and dump’ his subordinates like other politicians in the country.

Gambari made the remarks while responding to eulogies from the State House leadership and his staff at a reception in the Presidential Villa to commemorate his 78th birthday.

Gambari recalled how he, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, was ousted alongside Buhari, then Miitary Head of State, in the military coup of August 1985; and how he was appointed as the Chief of Staff by the same man after having won election for the second term as the nation’s President.

The CoS said: “When I came on board, I said my job is simple – to give loyalty, competence and support and that’s why even when Mr. President sees me and calls Chief of Staff, I say yes sir; but the emphasis is on ‘Staff’ not on ‘Chief’ because there is only one Chief and that’s the President and our duty is to support him loyally and competently.

“When I was offered this job by the President, he brought out a picture that was taken in June 1985, it was at the OAU Summit. The then Head of State was sitting in the middle, and his then Chief Press Secretary, Wada Maida, to his right.

“And he asked, ‘do you remember this picture? I said ‘No sir, but I remember the ocassion’. He said: ‘well, you were my Foreign Minister, we were kicked out of government in 1985, 35 years later, I find the opportunity to bring you back’.

“He said ‘we were interrupted then but I am bringing you back now to let you continue where we stopped. I thanked him very much and I said can I have hold of this picture so that I can make a copy? He said no, I kept mine, go and find yours.

“Three reasons are behind why I put that picture in front of my office. First, to return to the important point of departure; to show the kind of person our President is. He doesn’t forget those who have worked with him, who have served him loyally and in whom he has confidence. Some other people use and dump, not him.”

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