Late Abba Kyari, the Chief of State may be dead and buried but there is no doubt that he is one of the most misunderstood Public Officeholder in Nigeria. He was Intensively hated by many that even some rejoice after his death. Many tag him as a paradox of power and power drunk. How do you blame them, the post he occupied made him the centre of hatred for many? His education and loyalty to his Boss, President Muhammed Buhari was a big threat to many. Those who feel cheated out made him a scapegoat, but bring the matter to the table, they don’t have anything against him.
Despite being nailed from different quarters, he was one of those who dignified silence just like few Nigerians.
Not until his death, many don’t know who the real Abbah Kyari is. He was called unprinted names yet Abba never defended himself until death showed who the real Abba Kiyati was. Since he breathed his last at Lagos hospital and buried in Abuja, many prominent Nigeria most especially at the corridor of power have been eulogising the man Abbah Kyari who President Muhammed Buhari described as the best of us”
Not until Abbah Kyaris death, not many know that he was the best friend of Minister for Foreign affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama. They have been friends for over 43tears but only few are privy to this. Geoffrey clad in a Blue Black signature attire wearing a sad look was a Guest on Channels Television 10 pm News on 17th of April 2020. He revealed a lot about Late Abbah Kyati which was not just shocking but answer lots of unanswered questions about what Nigerians want to know about many allegations against Abbah which he never answered until his death. Speaking on how he met Abbah Kyari? I received the news of my friend Abba with Sad heart. I First met Abba Kyari in 1977 at Warwick University in England. I had gone there to do law as a second first degree. He had come to do a degree in sociology. I had a pending application to do Law at Cambridge and when the result of that application came and it was positive, I left Warwick during the second semester. But my five months at Warwick was enough to build a strong friendship with Abba that lasted till his passing. Almost 43 years!
There was a small group of Nigerians at Warwick then, which included former President Yakubu Gowon (who was doing a PhD in Political Science); Senator Osereihmi Osunbor (former Senator and Governor); Sitonye Roy Wakama (former Deputy Inspector General of Police) and the lawyer, Desmond Guobadia. There were a few other Nigerians. We had many memories which I hold so dear.” Abba and Geoffrey Old pictures was displayed on the screen while they were in their twenties as he speaks further about the man Abba Kyari. Abba who look quite skinny in those days wore the same attire with his best friend.
Speaking further, “We became friends very quickly and a life-long bond was formed. Abba wary simple and humble. He was also very friendly to everyone. He had very little interest in material things. We had a common interest in politics and I believe it was our socialist political values that cemented our friendship because we were always discussing politics and how to salvage Nigeria right up to his passing. Abba was also surprisingly sociable for someone who was so self-effacing and we had a lot of enjoyable and memorable experiences at parties and discotheques! Abba also had a very good sense of humour belied by his often stern visage. When I left Warwick University for Cambridge, Abba came to Cambridge to introduce me to his friends there as he had studied in the city for his Advanced levels. After graduating from Warwick University, Abba went up to Cambridge to study law. We kept in touch throughout the last 43 years. We ended up together in Lagos in 1982 to attend Law School for a year. When I left Nigeria in 1985 to work in Geneva for 30 years Abba came to Geneva often to stay with me and whenever I was in Nigeria, he made it a point of coming to see me wherever I was. When I got married in Owo to my wife from Idoani, Ondo State, Abba was my Best-Man. The officiating Vicar was somewhat perplexed because I was a Roman Catholic Igbo, marrying an Anglican Yoruba in an Anglican Church with a Muslim Kanuri/Shuwa Arab Best-Man from Borno State! The officiating Catholic priest in Geneva, Switzerland, two years later, during the baptism of our first son, was equally perplexed when a Muslim Abba Kyari and a Muslim Muni Attah-Sonibare were the Godfather and Godmother respectively! Abba was a Pan-Nigerian, global citizen, who recognized no boundaries between peoples, be they racial, ethnic, religious, class or political. He made friends with everyone. Abba was a man of unimpeachable integrity. Absolutely incorruptible! I remember after he got married to his wonderful wife, Kulu, he told me how he showed her his first paycheck so she would know that he was not wealthy and would not steal!
Explaining further on many allegation and Scandal where Abbas name was mentioned, he explained that it broke his heart to see all the false allegations against him on issues of corruption. Speaking on this, “ I remember I always go to see him whenever ever I hear about many of those things. During the MTN scandal, I went to see him and he showed me all the document and evidence which showed he was not involved at all. I remember asking him about the rumours making the rounds that he was making money from the fine imposed on MTN. He immediately showed me the memorandum setting up the Committee to deal with the issue and he was not even a member. He also showed me how he had been able to block attempts by many influential and powerful persons to make a lot of money at the expense of the country. He knew that fighting corruption with such single-mindedness and fearlessness would see him at the receiving end of the venom of very powerful forces but was undeterred and preferred to ignore all the defamation against him.
He showed me the safe in his office where he put any gift given to him. He tagged all the gift as an unsolicited gift. He always tells the president about anybody who gives him gifts which he always leaves in his office after tagging. Abba was loyal to a fault. He decided he was going to protect his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, at all costs and would take any number of bullets for him. And he did! Since he became Chief of Staff to the President, Abba never rested. He worked day and night, seven days a week. He was a hard taskmaster who did not suffer fools gladly. A very demanding boss. He gave a lot of himself and expected his subordinates and colleagues to do the same. He was very intelligent, very well-read and had a wide and varied professional experience. He held strong opinions and did not yield the position easily. But once he believed in someone or a cause, he would fight with everything he had. Abba believed completely in the Nigerian project and believed completely in President Muhammadu Buhari. During the last five years, he gave every second of his life for the success of both. His health suffered as a result but it was a sacrifice and investment he was happy to make. Nigerians will look back in years to come and see that he was truly the best man. “He revealed He was almost close to tears as he speaks about his friend of over 43years.
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