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‘His past actions were in order’ — Savannah Centre tackles Gambari’s critics

‘His past actions were in order’ — Savannah Centre tackles Gambari’s critics
May 20
09:08 2020
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The Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD) says whatever Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff to the president, did in the past was in line with the decision of the government of the day.

The centre was reacting to criticism of Gambari’s past actions.

Gambari was chairman of the centre until his new appointment.

The chief of staff is accused of openly supporting the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa, an activist, and eight other people in 1995 by the military regime of the late Sani Abacha, former head of state.

Saro-Wiwa protested against the environmental degradation of Ogoniland owing to oil exploration activities that date back to the 1950s.

But in a statement on Wednesday, Abdullahi Omaki, SCDDD executive director, said these past events have been lifted out of context to vilify Gambari and impugn his character.

Omaki said the chief of staff’s past actions were not on the basis of ethnic or religious factors.

“The attention of the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD) has been drawn to the various articles currently trending in the media concerning the newly appointed Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim A. Gambari,” the executive director said.

“While some of the articles have been positive, others have portrayed Prof. Gambari inaccurately and with prejudice. Although the SCDDD recognises the right of people to express their opinions, it is however, of the view that this right should be exercised with due consideration for the truth. SCDDD deems it unfortunate that past events are now being lifted out of context, to vilify Prof. Gambari and impugn his character.

“SCDDD would like to note that whatever action Prof. Gambari took in any official capacity he occupied in the past, was in line with the position of the government of the day and not on the basis of ethnic or religious considerations.”

Omaki said Gambari’s friends and associates come from across the country and beyond, and that this underscores the fact that he does not have any bias against any section of Nigeria.

“The Savannah Centre strongly believes that at this point in time, the place of Prof. Gambari as Chief of Staff to the President, is to worry about the deficits in governance, which have thrown up critical broad challenges to the nation and its people, neighbouring countries, West Africa and Africa at large, hence the necessity to now work more concertedly together, as a people, to address the catastrophic gaps inherent in our governance, through creativity and innovative methods that can provide worthy pathways for Nigeria’s unity, sustainable development and growth,” he said.

“Furthermore, for Nigeria and Africa to be relevant in any conversations for a new global order, especially, post Covid-19, these concerns need to be addressed, and the ongoing demonisations will not be the answer.”

Omaki added that Gambari should not be distracted by “unsubstantiated insinuations in the media”.

Gambari was appointed as chief of staff last week following the demise of Abba Kyari in April. Kyari died of COVID-19 complications.

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