President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari, has passed on. Kyari died after contracting Covid-19 after an official trip to Germany. According to presidency sources, the late chief of staff died on April 17, 2020.
Kyari, who was said to have had underlying health problems, including diabetes. He was one of the most powerful men in the country with president Buhari publicly declaring him as his official gate-keeper when he directed all ministers to route all issues and request for meetings through him during their inauguration in 2019. He died on a day Nigeria recorded the highest spike in the number of new infections with 51 cases, raising the total positive tests to 493 and 17 recorded deaths
According to presidency spokesman, Garba Shehu in a tweet on Friday, “The Presidency regrets to announce the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari. The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19, and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020,”
Kyari had travelled to Germany in early March with a delegation of other Nigerian officials for meetings with the company, Siemens. He attended meetings with senior government officials upon his return to Nigeria.
Abba Kyari was a Kanuri from Borno. In 1980, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Warwick, and also received a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. In 1983, he was called to the Nigerian Bar after attending the Nigerian Law School.
In 1984, he obtained a master’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. He later attended the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland and participated in the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School, in 1992 and 1994, respectively.
Kyari worked for the law firm Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo for some time after his return to Nigeria. From 1988 to 1990, he was Editor with the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna.In 1990, he served as a Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno State.
From 1990 to 1995, Kyari was the secretary to the board of African International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Bank of Credit and Commerce International. Kyari was an executive director in charge of management services at the United Bank for Africa, and was later appointed the chief executive officer. In 2002, he was appointed a board director of Unilever Nigeria, and later served on the board of Exxon Mobil Nigeria.
He leaves a huge gap in the presidency and president Buhari will feel a deep sense of loss and mourning for losing one of his closest aides.