In terse statement early Saturday, 18 April, 2020, Presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, announced his death.
Chief of Staff to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, has died of Coronavirus.
He said, “Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, passes on.
“May God rest his soul. Amen. Funeral arrangements to be announced soon.”
Abba Kyari OON, a Kanuri man from Borno was a Nigerian politician who served as Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari between 27th August 2015 and 17th April 2020.
He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Warwick in 1980, and a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1983 after attending the Nigerian Law School.
In 1984, he obtained a master’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. He later attended the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1992 and participated in the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School, in 1994.
He started his working career with the law firm of Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo before taking appointment in 1988 as The Editor of the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna. In 1990, he was appointed the Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno State.
Between 1990 and 1995, he served as the secretary to the board of African International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Bank of Credit and Commerce International. He also served as the executive director (management services) at the United Bank for Africa and later appointed the chief executive officer. In 2002, he was appointed a director of Unilever Nigeria, and later served on the board of Exxon Mobil Nigeria.
In August 2015, Kyari was appointed Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari and played major influential roles within PMB administration working mainly behind the scenes to implement president’s agenda.
Between 2017 and 2019, series of events in the Presidency suggested that he had assumed the position of the coordinating head of the kitchen cabinet of the President and invariably exercise powers and influence that no other than a de facto Prime Minister or Deputy President could assume in the Presidency even if unknown to law.
No doubt, the wife of the President and the First Lady, Aisha, had reasons to complain in public and online reports about some President’s aide when there was a break down in relationship of the President and National Leader of the Party, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
There were public outcries when Kyari became the go between the National Assembly and the President when the latter was officially absent from office due to his medical challenges and treatment in the United Kingdom. The role he played on the assented and rejected bills forwarded to the President raised national concerns about health of the President, the secrecy shrouded around it and what becomes of the Vice President in matters of such sensitive nature.
Kyari equally rocked the boat in instances where the Vice President was forced to order the removal of a state security chief who among others bypassed him and exhibits divided loyalties in the ruling cabal. He also seems to have opposed some appointments made that was not within his purview when the later acted as Acting President.
In 2017, he was embroiled in public argument with the lady Head of Civil Service of the Federation which led to public confrontations on issues of public service procedures and matters relating to Maina. The lady’s vehement position resulted to her subsequent removal from office, arrest and detention as part of the humiliation for daring the power that be through fraud related charges.
In 2019, PMB unprecedentedly ordered his cabinet to channel all requests through his office which enhanced his status in government circles. By 2020, it was obvious that he was meddling in matters of national security in a leaked memo of Babagana Monguno, the National Security Adviser.
In similar veins, he took it upon himself to lead Nigeria’s negotiations in search of revamping the critical infrastructures of the nation in the power sector during an official trip to Germany in March, 2020.
Following his return on 24th March, 2020, it was made public that he tested positive for COVID-19 and was encountering an underlying medical conditions. He was then moved from Abuja to Lagos due to his medical conditions and he died in a Lagos hospital on 17 April 2020, though the rumor of his death was rife about two weeks ago on the social media.
Kyari was married to the sister-in-law of Ibrahim Tahir and had four children. He died in the course of national duty.
May his soul Rest In Peace.