NO member of the Aso Villa cabal had an input in the selection of the new Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, top-level sources knowledgeable about the selection process disclosed last night.
Precisely, Aso Villa sources indicate that the selection of Professor Gambari was already a fait accompli as soon as the post became vacant because he had been seen as a potential Chief of Staff.
You will recall that the late Mallam Abba Kyari was almost not reappointed as the Chief of Staff in 2019, but for some late moves.
Our correspondent also learnt that when Kyari died as a result of COVID-19, the president needed someone he could trust outside of the cabal and outside of the group of other well-known contenders against the cabal.
The source said: “The president had come very close to that decision way back after the 2019 election as he looked forward to his 2023 legacy narratives.”
He added that Buhari, “being a methodical person,” settled for the man who came second when he drew up the list of his potential chief of staff.
Nigerian Tribune also gathered from within official circles that while Gambari had not been so visible in the Buhari administration, he is touted to be among the few who the president trusted and had access to him all through the years.
Now, according to the sources, a new kitchen cabinet is emerging around the president with the emergence of Gambari as the Chief of Staff, with indications that the compact group of trusted aides of closest advisers will now be dominated by Gambari, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, while many in the Villa now expect an effective synergy with the office of the vice president, unlike under the previous circumstances.
The new COS will report for work today, having just attended only the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting last week.
Nigerian Tribune also reports that remnants of the cabal have resolved not to allow themselves to be consigned and are pulling strings around the new chief of staff to draft and co-opt him.