President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly appointed Babagana Kingibe Chief of Staff following the death of Abba Kyari.
Abba Kyari tested positive to coronavirus on his return from Germany and subsequently died of the infection in Lagos.
Kingibe on the other hand has been acting as Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari since Kyari left the Presidency for treatment.
Baba Gana Kingibe GCON (born 25 June 1945) is a Nigerian politician, diplomat and government official who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1993 to 1995, Minister of Internal Affairs from 1995 to 1997, Minister of Power and Steel from 1997 to 1998; and Secretary to the Government of the Federation from 2007 to 2008.
Kingibe entered politics in the build up to the transition of the Third Nigerian Republic. In 1988, he was made director of organization of the People’s Front of Nigeria which consisted of politicians such as Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila and Rabiu Kwankwaso, which was then led by Shehu Musa Yar’Adua.
The front later joined with the Social Democratic Party in 1989. During the conduct of elections for national executive positions in the party, Kingibe was sponsored by the People’s Front faction of SDP as the party’s chairman, a position he went on to clinch. As party chairman, Kingibe was involved in the organization of party’s gubernatorial and presidential primaries in 1991 and 1992 respectively.
1993 presidential election
However, after the cancellations of presidential elections in 1992 in which Shehu Yar’Adua was a candidate, Kingibe put himself forward as a presidential candidate. He made a split from his initial camp, the PFN group and used his relationships with SDP state party chairmen to build his campaign. He lost the keenly contested primary conducted in Jos but after much prodding from SDP governors, he was selected by the primary winner, MKO Abiola as Vice-presidential running mate, creating a Muslim-Muslim ticket which was initially thought to be a deal breaker in the general elections. The pair won the electoral majority although the result was annulled by abdicating president General Ibrahim Babangida.
Kingibe later joined the Abacha administration as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1993 to 1995, Minister of Internal Affairs from 1995 to 1997, and Minister of Power and Steel from 1997 to 1998.
•Secretary to the Government•
In June 2007, he was appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation. He was unceremoniously removed from office on September 8, 2008 by the President Umaru Yar’Adua, after spreading rumors about the President’s ill-health while believed to be contending for the presidency.
Kingibe has been a powerful behind the scenes decision-maker in the Buhari administration, alongside chief of staff Abba Kyari.
Will his time as chief of staff to the President be a love hate relationship with Nigerians like his predecessor? Let’s wait and see.
©NJOKU ONYEKACHI (A political/investigative journalist based in Calabar
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