The Buhari Regime had closed all Nigeria’s land borders and this made life difficult in Niger. Therefore, the Nigerien head of state, General Seyni Kountche, visited Nigeria to meet with General Buhari. He was received at the Murtala Muhammad Airport by General Buhari and Dr Ibrahim Gambari.
Dr Gambari welcomes Seyni Kountche to Nigeria at the 1:21 minute mark.
General Buhari introduces Dr Gambari at the Council Chambers of State House, Dodan Barracks at the 6:12 minute mark.
There are 2 people in that video that served in almost every government in Nigeria from 1984 until the 2000s.
General Buhari introduced them as, “the external affairs minister, Dr Ibrahim Gambari” and “the minister of mines, power and steel, Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman”.
Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari served as minister of external affairs in the Buhari administration from 1984-1985 (my window at Broad Street was opposite his office
). He then became Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations and then ambassador to the United Nations during the administration of President Ibrahim Babangida. He was a professor of international relations at several American universities while he was at the UN.
Professor Gambari also served as Nigeria’s ambassador at the UN during the regime of General Sani Abacha and also during the administration of General Abdulsalam Abubakar.
Professor Wole Soyinka famously told General Abubakar (in the presence of Professor Gambari) that he was going to sue the Nigerian Government because of statements that Professor Gambari made about him in New York (I can’t remember what the statements were, but I think it had something to do with the strange woman that claimed that she was Soyinka’s wife).
Professor Gambari took up various positions at the United Nations in the 2000s. If I remember correctly, he served as the secretary general’s special representative on Dafur and later as the secretary general’s special representative on Iraq. He also later served as the United Nations under secretary general for political affairs.
Professor Gambari’s brother, Alhaji Sulu Kolapo Gambari (a former Appeal Court judge) is the current Emir of Ilorin.
Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman served as the minister of mines, power and steel from 1984-1985 during the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari. He served as the minister of petroleum resources between 1986 and 1990 during the administration of President Ibrahim Babangida. Babangida briefly made him the minister of foreign affairs early in 1990, but he brought him back to the position of petroleum minister a few months later.
Alhaji Lukman served as chairman of the board of NEPA during the administration of General Sani Abacha. However, he soon had a clash with Abacha and in 1995 he was elected as the secretary general of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Basically, Rilwanu Lukman was in exile as OPEC secretary general from 1995 until Abacha’s death. (He had previously served several terms as OPEC president in the 1980s, when he was Nigeria’s minister of petroleum resources.
President Olusegun Obasanjo made Rilwanu Lukman his special adviser on petroleum affairs in the year 2000. Obasanjo was both president and minister of petroleum affairs at that time. Obasanjo sacked him c2003 when Alhaji Lukman clashed with the group managing director of the NNPC, Mr Jackson Gaius Obaseki (Obaseki felt that Lukman was behaving as if he was the petroleum minister, when Obasanjo was actually the petroleum minister).
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua appointed Alhaji Lukman as his special adviser on petroleum resources in 2007. In 2008, President Yar’Adua appointed Rilwanu Lukman as his minister of petroleum resources.
Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman left office in 2010 when President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved the cabinet.
At a point I started thinking of Rilwanu Lukman as Nigeria’s version of Sheikh Yamani. Sheikh Yamani was Saudi Arabia’s oil minister and he also held several positions at OPEC. He was a familiar face at OPEC meetings for almost 30 years.
He died in 2014.
Picture 1) Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman.
Picture 2) Professor Ibrahim Gambari
Picture 3) Professor Gambari and General Joe Garba c1990 (Nigeria was a member of the Security Council at that time and General Garba was president of the UN General Assembly).