Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari
Head of United Nationa-African Union Mission in Darfur; Former United Nations Head of the Department of Political Affairs
Date of Birth: 24/11/1944
Place of Birth: Ilorin, Kwara State
Education: Higher Certificate, King’s College, Lagos, 1964; BSc, Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science; MA, Columbia University, 1970; PhD, Columbia University, 1974.
Career: Lecturer, City University of New York, 1969-74; Lecturer, Ahmadu Bello University, 1977; Director General, Nigerian Institute for International Affairs, 1983-84; External Affairs Minister, 1984-85; Visiting Professor, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1986-89; Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), 1990-99; Special Advisor to the Secretary General for Special Assignments in Africa, UN, 1999-2007; Special Advisor on the International Compact with Iraq, 2007; United Nationa-AU Joint Special Representative on Darfur, 2010 to date
Commentary: Gambari is internationally known for his many visits to Myanmar as the UN Secretary-General's special representative. He has been criticised for being too soft on pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi's captors and for not asking to see the infamous Insein Prison.
He was appointed chairman of the Steering Committee of the 2008 Delta Summit by Jonathan. This was a mistake. Gambari served as Nigeria's UN envoy in the 1990s and was an apologist for the military regimes of General Sani Abacha and Major General Abdulsalami Abubakar. Delta leaders have neither forgotten nor forgiven Gambari's description of executed civil rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa
as a 'common criminal'. Faced with strenuous opposition from political
and community leaders from the oil-producing southern states, Gambari
resigned and the meeting failed to take place, transforming a summit
into a dialogue. As usual, Jonathan's judgement was widely questioned.
In 2009, he publicly spoke out against President Umaru Yar'Adua,
saying that his absence from the September 2009 United Nations General
Assembly threatened Nigeria’s bid for a UN Security Council seat.