President Muhammdu Buhari has described Mallam Abba Kyari, his Chief of Staff, who died of Coronavirus on Friday, as “a true Nigerian patriot” and “the very best of us. “
In a tribute titled: ‘To My Friend, Mallam Abba Kyari,’ Buhari said his late Chief of Staff had been “My loyal friend and compatriot for the last 42 years – and latterly my Chief-of-Staff – he never wavered in his commitment to the betterment of every one of us.”
Going down memory lane, President Buhari said Kyari was only in his twenties when they first met.
“A diligent student, soon after he was blessed with the opportunity to study abroad – first at Warwick and then law at the University of Cambridge. But there was never any question Abba would bring his first-rate skills and newly acquired world-class knowledge back to Nigeria – which he did – immediately upon graduation.
“Whilst possessing the sharpest legal and organisational mind, Abba’s true focus was always the development of infrastructure and the assurance of security for the people of this nation he served so faithfully. For he knew that without both in tandem there can never be the development of the respectful society and vibrant economy that all Nigerian citizens deserve.”
He said throughout his political life, Kyari never sought elective office for himself, adding that “rather, he set himself against the view and conduct of two generations of Nigeria’s political establishment – who saw corruption as an entitlement and its practice a byproduct of possessing political office.”
Paying glowing tribute to Kyari, Buhari said: “Becoming my Chief of Staff in 2015, he strove quietly and without any interest in publicity or personal gain to implement my agenda.
“There are those who said of him that he must be secretive – because he did not have a high public profile. But Abba was the opposite: he simply had no need, nor did he seek, the cheap gratification of the crowd; for him, there was nothing to be found in popular adulation. He secured instead satisfaction and his reward solely and only from the improvement of the governance of this great country.
“Working, without fail, seven days each and every week, he acted forcefully as a crucial gatekeeper to the presidency, ensuring no one – whether minister or governor had access beyond another – and that all those representing and serving our country were treated equally.
“He made clear in his person and his practice, always, that every Nigerian – regardless of faith, family, fortune or frailty – was heard and treated respectfully and the same.
“Mallam Abba Kyari was the very best of us. He was made of the stuff that makes Nigeria great. Rest In Peace, my dearest friend.”
The president also condoled with Kyari’s wife and family.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Saturday night, said President Buhari had ordered strict observance of the social distancing rules as prescribed by the National Center for Disease Control, the Federal Ministry of Health; and other safe hygiene practices as advised by relevant local authorities.
The statement further said “In this regard, the President will not be available for condolence visitors but urges, in place of that prayers be offered for the repose of soul of the departed Chief of Staff.”
The statement also said the President wished to convey his deep appreciation to foreign leaders and all Nigerians, from whom a stream of messages had been reaching him over the demise of his Chief of Staff.