The Abba Kyari People Don't See!

By Onyema Ngozi

President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari is an extremely intelligent, unassuming and well-read man with a wide grasp of issues. A lawyer, journalist and banker by training, he is very diligent; known to read important policy documents several times over, making corrections and seeking input from wide groups of informed colleagues before finally sharing it with the President.

His detractors are perturbed by his fierce independence of thought. He aggressively protects the President from what he believes to be the elitist lobby that has for many decades used Government access and influence to enrich themselves.

He is a sucker for simplicity and for substance over form. He wears the same outfit native to shua tribe — white cotton babariga and a red cap. The Hausas fondly refer to him as “red cap” whilst the Yorubas call him “alaso funfun (white agbada).” In fact, when he recently didn’t wear the ceremonial shua outfit to the Presidential inauguration, many thought he was absent as they didn’t recognize him.

Since his appointment as Chief of Staff, he has resided at a government-owned 2-bed guest house. He maintains a spartan lifestyle, a reflection of his humble nature.

He is at the office every day, Saturday and Sunday included. He arrives at the State House on most days well before most of the other members of staff and he is always one of the last ones to leave the office before heading to meet the President with various memoranda to be considered.

He is focused, meticulous and pays attention to detail. When tasked by the President to address an issue, it gets done — and quickly too. He loyalty is to the President and to the constituency he considers the poorest in Nigeria.

He has no bias for ethnic background. Having studied for many years in the UK and worked for many years in Lagos, his closest friends hail from all over the country. Mallam Kyari is staunchly loyal. He will go to war to protect his family and friends and most of all his dear country, Nigeria.

Little wonder, those who find these noble qualities unadmirable seek to cast aspersions on his pristine reputation; accusing him all shade of impropriety.

Having watched the drama playing out from the sidelines, I believe it is time for the truth to now be heard. Whispers and innuendoes have been unanswered for far a long time and are gradually turning into a crowd baying for blood with falsehoods driving tempers high. This is wrong and must be stopped immediately.