Gambari Agboola Ibrahim

Prof. Gambari
Professor Gambari Agboola. Photo: AFP

Ibrahim Agboola Gambari; Diplomat and professor of International Relations who holds the record of being the longest serving Ambassador or Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations. Gambari was the Foreign Affairs Minister after the collapse of the Second Republic, altogether serving under five Heads of State and President. He chaired the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid, which successfully saw the rail of that long-standing social injustice and the establishment of democratic rule in South Africa[i].
Places of Growth

Ibrahim Gambari was born in Ilorin, Kwara State, in November 24, 1944. He is family with Sulu Gambiri, Emir of Kano who died in 1995[ii].

Gambari attended King’s College, Lagos, London School of Economics, and Political Science; University of London and Columbia University, New York[iii]. Gambari received M.A. and Ph.D. both in Political Science/International Relations from Columbia University London and Columbia University, New York.

Gambari became involved in Nigeria’s foreign policy first with his appointment as Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA). He was in this position till his appointment as the Minister of External Affairs following the December 1983 change of government by the military. After completing his Nigerian mission assignment in the UN in 1999 he was appointed as Under Secretary and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on African Affairs. He later became the Under-Secretary and Head of the Political Affairs Department of the UN, which was the most important office after that of the Secretary General.

In connection with his role in the UN Committee against Apartheid, Gambari was in October 2012 honoured by the government of South-Africa with the highest decoration reserved for foreign recipients. Johns Hopkins University elected him in 2002 to membership of the University’s Society of Scholars; and the Government of Nigeria in 2003 awarded him the national honour, Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).

[i] TheNation December 19, 2014

[ii] ThisDay August 13, 1995

[iii] TheNews November 24, 2003

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer