By Qasim Akinreti
My heartfelt condolences to the Nigerian media and the family of late Mallam Abba Kyari, who died from the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday 17th April 2020 and buried on Saturday, 18 April, 2020.
He was a former Editor of a national tabloid, The Democrat among other media positions held, and before his death, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari. All offices he held adding values to the media at various levels.
The Glorious Quran is clear: “Inna Lillahi Waina Illaehim Rojiun – Indeed it’s from Allah we came and unto him we shall all return“.
And for Mallam Abba Kyari, he got to his bus stop and returned to Allah.
My personal experiences with the Mallam Kyari were awesome. I remembered late Mallam Abba Kyari profoundly for his supports during the Nigerian hosting of the International Press Institute (IPI) World Congress In Abuja, 2018, during the era of AbdulWaheed Odusile’s NUJ presidency.
His supports echoed at various meetings held by the Local Organising Committees (LOC), in which I served as representing NUJ alongside Rafat Salami, a former Secretary of NUJ FCT council as well as Ify Omowale, National chair person of the National Association Of Women Journalists, NAWOJ.
It was discovered he facilitated the nation’s hosting of IPI, he along with our senior colleagues: Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua, Chairman NIJ Board; Sir Folu Olamiti, former Editor Nigerian Tribune; Mallam Kabir Yusuf, Founder, Daily Trust Newspapers; Nduka Obaigbena, Publisher ThisDay Newspapers; Abdul Waheed Odusile, former President of the NUJ; Media Presidential aides, Mr Femi Adesina and Mallam Garba Shehu facilitated the meeting and hosting of IPI Board along with selected members at the Presidential Villa Abuja, June 2018.
A very calm, well lettered and calculated personality, I watched him at a distance at the Presidential Villa during the hosting. Despite diverged narratives about him from the traditional and social media, I found him a warming personality. Unfortunately in the words of Simeon Kolawole, Mallam Abba Kyari did not leave to tell his positive stories to Nigerians through the same media he worked for over 10 years. What an irony of life.
I am equally happy that Miss Kemi Olunloyo revealed the role played by Mallam Abba Kyari towards the release of Omoyele Sowore, the owner of Sahara Reporters Online.
In life, you cannot satisfy everyone, but generality of those who benefitted from you will always appreciate you.
What is gratifying is that till death, Mallam Kyari served Nigeria at the highest level of government dedicatively. Going by his last official assignment in Germany, it was for the common good of Nigerians – precisely on improving the electricity generation.
Mallam Abba Kyari will be missed by the Nation over his dedication to duty and loyalty to his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari.
Goodnight Mallam Abba Kyari. May Allah SWT bless your soul.
Qasim Akinreti, PhD is the Deputy Director, Digital Media, Voice of Nigeria; and Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council.