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Cablegate: Tfus01: Nigeria: Ambassador Calls On Emir of Ilorin

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 002670

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


DEPT AF/RA BITTRICK
NSC FOR AFRICA DIRECTORATE AND MCLEAN


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MASS MARR PINR NI
SUBJECT: TFUS01: NIGERIA: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON EMIR OF ILORIN


Sensitive But Unclassified - Protect Accordingly


1. (SBU) During a visit to the OFR P3 training site in
Ilorin, Ambassador Jeter, accompanied by OSD/ISA Director
Theresa Whalen, DATT and PolMilOff, called on the Emir of
Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari. Expressing his deep
condolences for the September 11 attacks on the United
States, the Emir stated the beliefs voiced by Bin Laden and
his ilk were not Islam, nor excused by any religion. He
emphasized (perhaps as much for his 25 or so attendants as
for us) that using religion or ethnicity to rationalize
terror was unacceptable. Dismissing attempts to draw a line
between civilizations, he stated that if he were President of
Nigeria, he would foster a close relationship with the United
States, and would even call upon Israel's expertise in
irrigation and agricultural development. Finally, he invited
the Ilorin-based Operation Focus Relief trainers to visit him
any time, noting they would find him an "agreeable host."


2. (SBU) During the subsequent private session between the
Ambassador and the Emir, Gambari lamented ethnic and
religious tensions in Nigeria. He argued that these
conflicts in Nigeria were primarily driven by those seeking
political ends. To counter this in Ilorin, he said, he was
working with traditional leaders and others to create avenues
of discourse.


3. (SBU) COMMENT AND BIO INFORMATION: Gambari, a lawyer and
judge by profession, became Emir in 1995. He is the brother
of Ibrahim Gambari, Nigeria's decades-long PermRep at the UN
and current Under Secretary and Special Representative to
Africa. He was a driving force behind the creation of the
Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and served as the group's
first Chairman. He is a relatively important Northern and
Muslim leader, and his clear condemnation of the terrorist
attacks against the U.S. in front of his attendants will
resonate beyond the walls of his palace.


4. (SBU) COMMENT CONTINUED: Ilorin itself sits on the line
between the zones of influence of the Yoruba and the
Hausa-Fulani. Gambari, whose authority comes from the
Hausa-Fulani emirate system, must constantly engage in
dialogue to keep his realm quiet. Feuding between Kwara
State Governor Alhaji Mohammed Lawal and political
heavyweight Dr. Olusola Saraki makes his task harder.
Ilorin's relative quiet is testimony to the Emir's
effectiveness thus far. END COMMENT AND BIO INFORMATION.
Jeter

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