What you need to know about Baba Gana Kingibe the Man behind the scenes

Baba Gana Kingibe GCON (born 25 June 1945) is a Nigerian politician, diplomat and government official who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1993 to 1995, Minister of Internal Affairs from 1995 to 1997, Minister of Power and Steel from 1997 to 1998; and Secretary to the Government of the Federation from 2007 to 2008.

In 1993 Nigerian presidential election, he was the vice presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party.

Early life and education
Kingibe was born on 25 June 1945 to the family of Mustafa Shuwa and Ya Kingi Mallam. A Kanuri from Borno, he grew up in Maiduguri and attended primary schools there. In 1958, he was admitted into the Borno Provincial Secondary School.

In 1960, he left for the United Kingdom on a government scholarship to complete his O’Level and A-level at Bishop’s Stortford College. In 1965, he received his bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Sussex (alongside Thabo Mbeki

Early career
In 1965, he returned to Nigeria and was employed as a researcher at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. At the university, he became acquainted with the Kaduna Mafia, a group of young western-educated intellectuals, civil servants and military officers from Northern Nigeria.[3] During the Nigerian Civil War, he became the head of features and current affairs at the Broadcasting Corporation of Northern Nigeria.

Diplomatic service
In 1972, he joined the Nigerian Foreign Service where his first posting was the Nigerian High Commission in London as a senior political counsellor and later became the head of the political desk.

Following the 1976 Nigerian coup d’état attempt, Kingibe was seconded to the Supreme Military Headquarters (SMHQ) as the Principal Secretary, Political, from 1976 to 1979, where he was involved in the planning of the military’s transfer of power programme, states creation and national delimitation, local government reforms and the constitutional drafting committee of the Second Nigerian Republic. In 1981, at the age of 36, he was appointed the Nigerian Ambassador to Greece, Cyprus and later Pakistan between 1981 and 1985. In 1986, Kingibe became a permanent secretary in the presidency of General Ibrahim Babangida.

Kingibe also served from October 2002 to September 2006 as the Special Envoy of the African Union to Sudan and subsequently Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and head of the African Union Mission in Sudan.

Political career
Party politics
Kingibe entered politics in the build up to the transition of the Third Nigerian Republic. In 1988, he was made director of organization of the People’s Front of Nigeria which consisted of politicians such as Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila and Rabiu Kwankwaso, which was then led by Shehu Musa Yar’Adua.

The front later joined with the Social Democratic Party in 1989. During the conduct of elections for national executive positions in the party, Kingibe was sponsored by the People’s Front faction of SDP as the party’s chairman, a position he went on to clinch. As party chairman, Kingibe was involved in the organization of party’s gubernatorial and presidential primaries in 1991 and 1992 respectively.

1993 presidential election
However, after the cancellations of presidential elections in 1992 in which Shehu Yar’Adua was a candidate, Kingibe put himself forward as a presidential candidate. He made a split from his initial camp, the PFN group and used his relationships with SDP state party chairmen to build his campaign. He lost the keenly contested primary conducted in Jos but after much prodding from SDP governors, he was selected by the primary winner, MKO Abiola as Vice-presidential running mate, creating a Muslim-Muslim ticket which was initially thought to be a deal breaker in the general elections. The pair won the electoral majority although the result was annulled by abdicating president General Ibrahim Babangida.

Abacha administration
Kingibe later joined the Abacha administration as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1993 to 1995, Minister of Internal Affairs from 1995 to 1997, and Minister of Power and Steel from 1997 to 1998.

Secretary to the Government
In June 2007, he was appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation.[9] He was unceremoniously removed from office on September 8, 2008 by the President Umaru Yar’Adua, after spreading rumors about the President’s ill-health while believed to be contending for the presidency.

Buhari administration
Kingibe has been a powerful behind the scenes decision-maker in the Buhari administration, alongside chief of staff Abba Kyari.

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Augustine Aminu

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