Nigeria Chief of Army Staff Was Fired During Peacekeeping
Meeting, Boko Haram Connection Denied
September 12 -- In the middle of the meeting last week
between Nigeria's Defense Ministry officials and the head of the UN
Department of Field Support Susana Malcorra, President Goodluck
Jonathan fired Chief of Army Staff Abdulrahman Dambazzau.
news of the
firing reached the meeting room in the DC-1 building directly across
from the UN's compound on First Avenue. Defense Minister Adetokunbo
Kayode continued speaking with Malcorra, largely about the Nigeria
soldiers serving in UN Peacekeeping missions in Darfur and elsewhere.
the Malcorra meeting, Dambazzau was to have accompanied Minister
Kayode to another set of meetings in the main UN Peacekeeping offices
in the UN's temporary swing space building on Madison Avenue. But he
did not -- he no longer had or has a position with the Nigerian
speculate that the firing is related to the televised and bloody
military showdown with the Boko Haram group. The Nigerian government
counters that the firings are merely a shakeup in the countdown to
the country's elections, in which Jonathan will run.
UN's Malcorra next to Obiakor, fired chief of army
staff not shown
to show sudden military firings during the middle of a high level
meeting with UN Peacekeeeping in New York was unique, to say the
least. Watch this site.
is still unclear if Nigeria's
Mission to the UN has complained to
Equatorial Guinea about the execution of its nationals. Also unclear:
what Nigeria's former UN Peacekeeping Military Advisor Obiakor will be
doing for the UN for the next months -- it was confirmed to Inner City
Press that he will be staying in New York and on the payroll. Writing a
* * *
Reception Features Fela and Gambari, UNAMID Vote Friday
28 -- At Nigeria's end of Security Council Presidency
reception Wednesday night, the de facto guest of honor was Ibrahim
Gambari. Ambassador Joy Ogwu, who has followed him in each of his
Nigerian jobs, took photos with him, as did Nigerian and other UN
staff members in attendance.
event was in
the penthouse of Nigeria House, built under Gambari's tenure as his
country's ambassador to the UN. So it was something of a home coming.
current job, the joint African Union - UN Mission in Darfur, the vote
to extend its mandate will be Friday and not Thursday. Gambari
chatted up the political coordinators of Council members such as
Mexico, Austria and Turkey. He schmoozed Western Deputies Philip
Parham and Rosemary DiCarlo.
did not appear in attendance. But that was not the point: Nigeria's
representative on the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and
Budgetary Questions was there, kindly telling Inner City Press about
ACABQ's trip to El Fasher during one of Gambari's absences, to see
the cost of living differences in different parts of Sudan.
she helped procure a plate of food for Ghana Perm Rep Leslie K.
Christian, then clear the tables It is a down home and full service
mission, one refreshingly without pretensions.
pure Fela, spun by a Ethiopian DJ who words for the Nigerian mission.
More than one Nigerian remarked to Inner City Press that Gambari,
like Fela, might not always be welcome in Nigeria: the latter because
of protest, Gambari due to perceived defense of the military
dictatorship of Sani Abacha.
Sani Abacha was scarcely mentioned. Ambassador Ogwu, the host with
the most, said she does not envision following Gambari to a
peacekeeper mission, as she is 64, as in the Beatles' song.
Joy Ogwu and DPA, Ms. Gurlach not shown, outside
candidate in wings?
Goodluck Jonathan's picture was
up; the UN Department of Public Information's reticence to move from
Lagos to Abuja was a bone of contention. A spicy dish came with fish
bones included. The vibe was good: but where were China and Russia,
to Inner City Press that DPI is consenting to include the word
“blogger” for the first time in their accreditation guideline.
Still they are trying to confine it to a footnote. We'll see -- watch
Our own footnote,
then: the top Department of Political Affairs post with Security
Council Affairs, from which Horst Heitmann was removed without
ceremony, will not necessarily go to Ms. Gerlach. The talk now is of an
outside candidate. But why leave this post unfilled for so long?