The Leadership and Members of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) heartily congratulate our distinguished and resourceful professional colleague, Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, CFR, on a well-deserved appointment as the Chief of Staff to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Members of the NPSA are pleased with this critical appointment and hereby congratulate the Federal Government for this great initiative.
We received the news of the appointment of our very senior colleague, a distinguished scholar/diplomat and eminent member of our highly revered Association, with great joy and expectations. Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, CFR, is an illustrious son of Africa and indeed a Global Citizen as well as International Person whose global services are remarkably indelible and well-appreciated by close associates and confidants. Professor Gambari instigated trail-blazing contributions following his decision to relocate to Nigeria after studying abroad and lecturing in two leading American Universities, viz: City University of New York and the University of Albany. His engagement at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) as a lecturer was defined by his commitment to broaden the scope of the field of political science when he boldly established the international relations programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This noble feat represented a major breakthrough which was subsequently replicated in the whole of northern Nigeria. Thus, based on his pioneering efforts, International Relations has come to become a very attractive discipline to prospective admission-seekers into ABU, Zaria, in addition to producing graduates for the programme who are occupying commanding heights in the country’s political economy most notably, the Foreign Service. Again, Professor Gambari established a link and collaboration with the French Government whereby staff in the Department were afforded the rare opportunity of pursuing Post-Graduate Programmes in France. These numerous academic contributions, including his vast enriching publications, serving as Head of Department and community services earned him a deserved promotion to the Rank of Professor by the Management of the ABU.
In addition to the above landmark achievements, the Shagari government, largely influenced by Professor Gambari’s leading light in the field of international relations, snapped him from ABU and appointed him the Director General of the prestigious Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos. He had hardly settled down in the new office when the young Buhari government appointed him the Minister of External Relations in 1984. The era represented a golden opportunity to practicalise his rich theories of international relations with respect to advancing the fundamental praxis underlying the country’s foreign policy. Indeed, Professor Gambari instantly deployed his bounteous knowledge in the Ministry by enunciating and propagating the doctrine of the Concentric Circles thereby deepening the capacities of relevant institutions to, inter alia, activate autochthonous foreign policy behaviour and people-oriented external relations. Although he served for less than two years in the office, his impact in theorising the country’s foreign policy is still being felt till this day.
Furthermore, as former editor of a highly influential journal, the Nigerian Journal of Political Science first published in 1979 in ABU, Professor Gambari proved his understanding of the domestic politics when he hosted the great debate between Bala Usman and Sam Oyovbaire. The debate centred on the role and responsibility of academics in Nigeria’s political environment. This great debate provided the framework for harvesting the gains inherent in forging positive alliance between Town and Gown in the governance of the country. No doubt, his impact on the field of political science is legendary through his many publications, notably his books on Nigerian foreign policy. In fact, no publication on Nigeria’s international relations can be adjudged to be adequate without making insightful references to his treatise and seminal works on Nigerian foreign policy.
It was in consideration of the afore-stated land-breaking accomplishments and the anticipated value-added to governance architecture that predisposed the President of the Federation to appoint Professor Gambari, CFR, as a worthy Chief of Staff. Coincidentally, the leadership of the NPSA had in January, 2020 resolved to confer on Professor Gambari CFR, Fellow of the Academy of Politics during the Annual Conference of the Association earlier scheduled for August 11, 2020, in appreciation of his positive contributions to our great discipline.
Once again, we congratulate Professor Ibrahim Gambari, CFR, for this noble appointment. We have no doubt that this great Political Scientist shall deploy his wealth of experiences in moving the country to a desired state of existence. Nigerians are therefore hopeful that this intellectual icon and diplomat shall be a viable and potent asset in social engineering and in deepening the good governance framework in Nigeria.
Long Live Nigerian Political Science Association.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
May God Bless Nigeria.
Professor Aloysius-Michaels Okolie Dr. Gerald Ekene Ezirim
President, NPSA Secretary-General, NPSA