On Friday July 5, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari made his first major appointments for his second term. The president gave the nod to Boss Mustapha and Abba Kyari to continue as Secretary to the Federal Government and Chief of Staff respectively. These are said to be positions meant for the president’s most trusted advisers: the operators of the so-called Kitchen Cabinet, where the beneficiaries of the power and governance decisions in Aso Rock are determined.
Mustapha, a latter day Buhari appointee is not as popular as Kyari who is always in the news. In fact, Kyari’s media mentions may just trump President Buhari’s. That’s how popular Kyari is. Perhaps never have we had so much interest in an appointee of the president. This makes it imperative for the interest and fixation on Abba Kyari to be constructive and geared towards engendering good governance in Nigeria.
Prior to Kyari’s re-appointment, the media was awash with several campaigns in his favour as well as those designed to snuff out his influence in President Buhari’s administration. The media frenzy was immense. Several names were touted as possible replacements. Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), Adamu Adamu and Babatunde Raji Fashola were said to be the main contenders to the exalted office of Chief of Staff.
Ali, the unbending Buharist and current Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, was touted as one that would bring “discipline” while Adamu and Fashola, immediate past ministers of education, and works, housing and power respectively, were also considered as “progressives”.
Several reports quoted “Presidency sources” who “authoritatively” confirmed that President Buhari was set to drop Abba Kyari’s following outcome of investigation into various allegations. Unconfirmed reports were syndicated to instigate public outcry and angst against Kyari. The media war was so apparent to discerning Nigerians, to whom it was crystal clear that the drama was all about political posturing and positioning. Yes, we have seen this play out in the polity time and again. Well, the president has elected to keep the services of Abba Kyari. This, regardless of the position of the warring factions, should be viewed as an endorsement of his performance. Consequently, all parties should in the interest of the nation unite and join hands with the president and his advisers to ensure Buhari’s second term is successful.
While congratulating Abba Kyari on his re-appointment, the Cambridge University-trained lawyer must put all the drama behind him. Nigerians are expecting progress at the speed of light. His office is critical to setting the tone for the nation to make strategic and effective strides towards peace, progress and prosperity.
Abba Kyari needs to shield President Buhari from sycophants and those who are only seeking to feather their nests at the expense of Nigeria’s commonwealth. Kyari needs to coordinate far-reaching stakeholder engagement plans that will give Buhari’s administration access to multiple portals for discharging good governance equitably across the nation.
This second coming presents Abba Kyari a golden opportunity to help Buhari develop a legacy beyond fighting corruption and insecurity. Although these are essential for development, they do not guarantee sustainable growth. Abba Kyari needs to help Buhari build strong institutions.
In addition, Kyari should do all within his power to avoid mainstream politics and focus on policy formulation. As a son of the Borno Kingdom, Kyari must uphold the pride and integrity of the reverred Kingdom. It also will not hurt for Kyari to shed the garb of being introverted; he needs to be more convivial to engender opportunities of learning from others.
The onus is on Abba Kyari to ensure a coherent Presidency; one that is forthright, visionary and unwavering. Hopefully, the distractions and agitations that preceded Abba Kyari’s second coming will inspire him to work even harder and serve selflessly in accordance to the expectations of Nigerians.
Ade bayo Olakunle, Ile-Ife, Osun State