Babagana Kingibe OV GCON, a Nigerian diplomat, politician, and civil servant, was born on June 25, 1945. He has held a number of high-ranking official positions, including Secretary to the official of the Federation from 2007 to 2008.
He has been in politics since the 1970s and served six heads of state, most recently as a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s inner group. He spent more than ten years in the Foreign Service cadre.
He served as Chief Moshood Abiola’s running mate for vice president in the 1993 presidential election that was later declared invalid.
He later joined the government as a member of General Sani Abacha’s politico-military caucus and served as the minister of foreign affairs from 1993 to 1995, the minister of internal affairs from 1995 to 1997, and finally the minister of power and steel from 1997 to 1998.
Real name: Babagana Kingibe
Date of birth: 25 June 1945
Place of birth: Borno, Northern Region,
Now: Borno State, Nigeria)
Political party: All Progressives Congress
Other political: affiliations
Peoples Front of Nigeria
1988–89, Social Democratic Party
1989–1993, Peoples Democractic Party
2006–2015, Bishop’s Stortford College
Alma mater: University of Sussex Graduate Institute of International and Development
Occupation: Politician, Profession, Diplomat
Kingibe was born to a Kanuri household on June 25, 1945, in Borno. When he was four years old, Ya Kingi Mallam, his mother, passed away. His father, Mustafa Shuwa, was a shoemaker before rising to the position of Borno Native Authority pay assistant.
Kingibe was raised in Maiduguri and went to local elementary schools. He was accepted into Borno Provincial Secondary School in 1958.
He departed for the UK in 1960 on a government scholarship to finish Bishop’s Stortford College’s O’Level and A-Level requirements.
Prior to enrolling in the BBC Television Training School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from the University of Sussex in 1968 (alongside Thabo Mbeki).
At the Graduate Institute of International and Development, Kingibe later sought a doctorate.
Later, Kingibe attended the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Switzerland to seek a doctorate, but he departed before finishing.
He went back to Nigeria in 1969 and started teaching political science at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria.
He met the Kaduna Mafia at the university, a group of young Northern Nigerian intellectuals, government employees, and military personnel with western educations.
As the chief of the current affairs and features department for the Broadcasting Corporation of Northern Nigeria (now Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria), Kingibe left the university before the end of the Nigerian Civil War.
He started working as an external affairs officer in the Nigerian Foreign Service in 1972.
He began his career as a senior political counsellor at the Nigerian High Commission in London before rising to the position of head of the political desk.
Following the unsuccessful coup attempt in Nigeria in 1976, Kingibe was assigned to the Supreme Military Headquarters (SMHQ), where he served as the Principal Political Secretary from 1976 to 1979 under the military triumvirate of General Shehu Yar’Adua.
There, he was involved in the planning of the military’s transfer of power program, including the establishment of states and the national delineation of borders, local government reforms, and the Second Nigerian Republic’s constitutional drafting committee.
Between 1976 and 1981, he worked in the President’s Office as the Principal Political Secretary, supporting both General Olusegun Obasanjo and President Shehu Shagari.
He was appointed as Nigeria’s ambassador to Greece and Cyprus in 1981 when he was 36 years old. He served in that capacity from 1981 to 1984. He later served as Nigeria’s ambassador to Pakistan.
Kingibe was named Permanent Secretary of Special Services by military president General Ibrahim Babangida in 1986. In this role, Kingibe coordinated with the military presidency and oversaw the operations of security and intelligence services.
Later, from 1988 to 1989, he held the position of Constituent Assembly Secretary.
In the lead-up to the Third Nigerian Republic’s transition, Kingibe entered party politics.
He was appointed director of organization of the People’s Front of Nigeria (PFN), which was then led by Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and included politicians like Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, and Rabiu Kwankwaso.
In 1989, the front subsequently merged with the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Kingibe was supported by the People’s Front faction of the SDP to serve as the party chairman during the elections for national executive positions in the party.
He eventually won this position. Kingibe participated in the planning of the party’s governor and presidential primaries in 1991 and 1992, respectively, in his capacity as party chairman.
Kingibe declared himself a candidate for president following the postponement of the 1992 presidential primaries in which Shehu Yar’Adua emerged as the front-runner.
Kingibe withdrew from the Shehu Yar’Adua-led People’s Front group by exploiting his position as party chairman.
He then built his presidential campaign on his connections with SDP governors and state party chairs.
Atiku Abubakar received 2,066 votes, Kingibe received 3,617 votes, and Moshood Abiola received 3,617 votes following the first round of voting in the Jos presidential primary.
After finishing in second place, Kingibe thought about teaming up with Atiku Abubakar to oppose Abiola by combining their 5,231 votes.
Atiku Abubakar was requested to leave the race by Shehu Yar’Adua after considerable nagging, and Abiola promised to serve as his running mate.
Abiola was later forced by SDP governors to choose Kinigbe as his vice presidential running partner when he was unable to team up with Atiku Abubakar.
This resulted in a Muslim-Muslim ticket, which was previously regarded to be a deal breaker in the elections.
The 1993 presidential election saw Bashir Tofa and Slyvester Ugoh of the National Republican Convention (NRC) lose to Moshood Abiola and Babagana Kingibe of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) by a margin of more than 2.3 million votes, according to the results, which were not officially certified by the National Electoral Commission.
General Ibrahim Babangida, the military’s choice for president, eventually canceled the elections due to fraud.
In Abiola’s political heartland of the South West, the annulment sparked huge protests and political instability, which resulted in General Babangida’s resignation and the creation of the feeble Interim National Government headed by Ernest Shonekan.
The issue persisted until General Sani Abacha took over as interim president after Shonekan first named Abiola as his Vice President. Abiola refused to acknowledge the interim government.
Kingibe has held positions in a series of military and civilian regimes since June 12. Kingibe joined the military government of General Sani Abacha in 1993 and served as the country’s minister of foreign affairs from 1993 to 1995, the interior minister from 1995 to 1997, and the industry minister from 1997 to 1998.
Kingibe was forced out of government after Abacha’s death when his successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, dissolved the cabinet and sent him to Geneva to pursue postgraduate studies at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. He later dropped out of school to rejoin the diplomatic corps.
Kingibe was the African Union’s Special Envoy to Sudan from October 2002 to September 2006; he afterwards served as Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson and director of the African Union Mission in Sudan. (AMIS).
It was widely believed that Kingibe considered running for president before returning to Nigeria in September 2006 and joining the Peoples Democratic Party in advance of the 2007 presidential election, which was won by Umaru Yar’Adua. Kingibe eventually joined the Yar’Adua cabinet.
He was named Secretary to the Government of the Federation in June 2007. Kingibe was abruptly removed from office in September 2008, shortly after Yar’Adua’s subsequent sickness and initial hospitalization in Saudi Arabia, for reportedly conspiring with General Abdullahi Mohammed to depose Yar’Adua because of his failing health.
Kingibe kept a low profile after being forced out of office, although he later criticized President Goodluck Jonathan for failing to put an end to the insurgency in the North-East.
Kingibe was chosen to be a part of Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration committee after Buhari won the 2015 presidential election.
Since then, he has emerged alongside Abba Kyari as a significant behind-the-scenes decision-maker, influencing the administration’s foreign and intelligence policies.
Kingibe rejected running for president in 2019 in February of that year. Kingibe received the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, the second-highest national honor, from President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2018.
The president also declared June 12 to be Democracy Day. Kingibe was added to President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet on May 31, 2021, as a Special Envoy for Chad and the Lake Chad Region.