Covid-19 has claimed the life of Mallam Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Mohammadu Buhari. Mallam Kyari’s death was announced early this morning, 18th April, 2020 by the Senior Media Adviser to the President, Femi Adesina on his official Twitter handle.
It was alleged that he contracted the virus while on official visit to Germany. It was reported that Mallam Abba Kyari, appointed Chief of Staff to President Mohammadu Buhari in August, 2015, had underlying health complications when he contracted the virus. Mallam Kyari rejected the allegation of previous health challenges and said that his movement from Abuja to Lagos through air ambulance was to seek further treatment, apparently from the virus. Kyari in a memo said he had to make his personal arrangements to avoid further burdening the public health system in Nigeria, raising the question whether or not the private facility was accredited as centre for management of Coronavirus. The location of the hospital was never made public, sparking the believe that he was in an isolation centre. Doctors attending to the late Chief of Staff had obtained his medical record from the famous private hospital – Wellington Hospital which revealed that some other ailments could hamper his recovery from the virus infection.
While in office as the Chief of Staff to the President, Kyari was very influential. He worked spiritedly for implementation of President Buhari’s agenda in the first and second term, until death, the perennial reaper came calling.
Much is not known about Mallam Abba Kyari’s early life. Born on 17 November, 1938, he is a kanuri from Borno State. In 1980, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from University of Warwick, United Kingdom. He also received a degree in law from University of Cambridge and he was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1983. In the quest for more knowledge, Mallam Kyari embarked on further studies, and enrolled in the University of Cambridge where he obtained a masters’ degree. He later attended several other institutions, including Harvard Business School and the International Institute for Management Development, Switzerland.
After his return to Nigeria and call to the bar, he practiced law at the chambers of two legal luminaries; Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo. From 1988 to 1990, he worked as the Editor, New Africa Holdings Limited, Kaduna. He also served in various capacity in United Bank for Africa, Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Uniliver Nigeria, as well as Exxon Mobil Nigeria.
A taciturn, Abba Kyari was very influential in the Buhari administration. In 2017, following a leaked memo, Kyari was embroiled in a public argument with the Head of Service. In another leaked memo, he was accused by Babagana Mungono, the Security Adviser for meddling in matters of national security. He survived them all.
Mallam Abba Kyari will be missed by the President, the administration, his teeming supporters, the APC and relatives. He is survived by his wife and four children.
He was sometimes mistaken by the public as the former Military Governor of the defunct North Central State, Brigadier Abba Kyari who passed away on 25 November, 2018.