Gambari speaks on working for presidency, says Buhari rewards loyalty
Ibrahim Gambari says President Muhammadu Buhari is a leader who rewards loyalty.
Gambari, who is the chief of staff to the president, said this on Thursday at an event to mark his 78th birthday at the presidential villa in Abuja.
“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’,” he said.
“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 said: ‘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 found the opportunity to bring you back’.
“He said ‘we were interrupted then and 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 this picture so that I can make a copy?’ He said ‘no, I kept mine; go and find yours’.
“There are three reasons 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.”
In his remarks Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, said Gambari is a person of value.
“He already had value before coming here, and was not coming to get value. He is now adding value to the presidency. We have worked seamlessly together since your arrival here, and I appreciate that,” Adesina said.
“I remember how, when you assumed office and at our first meeting, you simply asked me to see you as a senior uncle. You look good at 78 and we pray for God to give you more years in good health.”(the Cable)