Abba Kyari: Chief Of Staff – in Chief

Friday, July 6, Vanguard, a newspaper in Nigeria ,carried a lead with the  headline “Can I Abba ‘Kyari’ you to the president”? Kyari was in deliberate apostrophes in a poor pun for “carry”. The implication being that when you see Abba Kyari, Chief Of Staff to Nigeria’s president, then you don’t need the president.  Mr Kyari has managed to carve an image of the guy who really runs things in Nigeria.  
Last week, along with Boss Mustafa, President Mohammadu Buhari reappointed  Mr Kyari for “another term”. Like a president.  Mr Buhari also processed to appoint other aides that  were sniggered at. “The chief photographer” ,for instance, is  South West and the “assistant photographer ” ,from the South East.All the push positions went to Northern Muslims, of course. Mr Buhari’s critics pointed. 
Those who don’t like Abba Kyari ( and they are legion) say he “reappointed” himself along side the the all formidable Secretary to the government, Boss Mustafa.  They say that the show from 2015 till date has largely been run by the duo with Mr Kyari as leader. 
Before his reappointment, there were pro and anti “Cabal ” protests in Abuja.  Nigeria’s Labor union, NLC ” hailed ” the appointments as was  a ” UK group “.

Mr Kyari is coming into more notoriety because of the very invidious issue of RUGA, a scheme many suspect is a ruse to take their land and hand it to Fulanis. While Vice President Osibanjo’s office was said to be in charge of the program, Mr Kyari’s name is on a widely circulated memo marked “Restricted” in Nigeria’s social media announcing the “suspension” of RUGA.  We are not able to confirm the authenticity of the memo. 
Given Mr Kyari’s famed control of the cagey presidency, questions arise as to who really runs Nigeria. And Mr Kyari’s Wikipedia profile is something more arcane.  Less than a regular page and one that can be edited by anyone,  it has only two categories: Education and Career.  No births or age.
“Abba Kyari graduated (?=)with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of Warwick, England in 1980.[2] He also possesses a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law from the University of Cambridge, England and was called to the Nigerian Bar after attending the Nigerian Law School in 1983.[3]In 1984, he obtained a master’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge.[2] He later attended the International Institute for Management Development at Lausanne, Switzerland and participated in the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School, in 1992 and 1994
.”- Wikipedia. 

Rumours abound in Nigeria about his reach. People point out that Chiefs of staff to presidents in the past were glorified messengers but Mr Kyari draws a lot of water. 

Chief of staff Job title
Chief of staff. … In general, a chief of staff provides a buffer between a chief executive and that executive’s direct-reporting team. The chief of staff generally works behind the scenes to solve problems, mediate disputes, and deal with issues before they are brought to the chief executive.

Just how formidable is Abba Kyari? Well, to start with, Buhari was absent for five months in 2017, being treated in Britain for an unspecified ailment. Vice President Yemi Osibanjo was acting president with limited powers.  Mr Osibanjo still had to “check ” with Mr Buhari before he acted.  Some say the real actions were orchestrated from behind the scenes by the “cabal”. Benjamin Netanyahu,Israel’s Prime minister,  wanted to engage West Africa and was going to use Nigeria as a stop- over in 2017. But it was also expedient for him if he met  Mr Osibanjo in Monrovia, Liberia during the ECOWAS Summit of that year.
Reports say that Abba Kyari and his men told the acting president he couldn’t go. And he didn’t. 

When Babachir David Lawal was removed as Secretary to the government for enriching himself with money meant for the IDP by the Presidency,  Mr Lawal famously asked ” Who is the Presidency “? Mr Lawal is  named as a member of the cabal and he is walking free.
One of Kyari’s pet projects in Mr Buhari’s first term, some say, was to make life miserable for Bukola Saraki, Senate president at the time. Well, Mr Saraki didn’t return to the Senate.  Instead, Nigeria is saddled with a -Yes -Sir  rubber stamp. 

The Nigerian media is not exactly what it used to be , say like in the days of the military.  Now they even have to pass the news that if you want things done ,nice and easy, you must play ball with Mr Kyari.  His own kind of ball,that is.

“Some, including his wife, have said access to Buhari is tightly controlled by close advisers, known in Nigeria as “the cabal”, and that they are really directing policy”.Reuters. 
Even at that, Mrs Buhari basically became a bit quiet after her son ,Yusuf, almost died in a motorcycle accident.  And some say, the crash was a warning. 

The administration is now in a stand -still as there is no cabinet in place . Some say Abba Kyari wants it that way. 
Then , again, who is really in charge of affairs? Why is Abba Kyari so powerful? And like Aisha asked: “Where are the men in Nigeria? Why are they quiet and let two people control Nigeria “?
And how about Mohammadu Buhari?


 Despite a recession in 25 years ,resurgence of Boko Haram Islamists and kidnapping, among many ailments, to his admirers, Buhari is frugal, moral and prizes loyalty above other qualities in his allies – a foil to the alleged excesses of the PDP. To his critics, he is an ailing relic with little head for policy and no concern for the rule of law.

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