The announcement of the death of former Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, came to Nigerians as quite a rude shock. It is been one of the mixed feelings for the majority of Nigerians. Abba Kyari tested positive to the coronavirus disease upon his return from an official trip to Germany, which is one of the high-risk countries for the disease. He later died on the 17th of April 2020.
While breaking his silence after days of his contraction of the disease, Abba Kyari in a letter to the President, which was seen by Sahara Reporters, admitted to testing positive to the disease but said that as a precautionary measure, he will be going to Lagos for further tests and observation. He said that he was going to make his own arrangement so as not to overburden the public health system which is already stretched.
He advised Nigerians not to listen to fake news as President Buhari will do whatever is necessary to protect the health and safety of Nigerians.
I will read out Abba Kyari full letter to President Buhari before his death on 29th March, 2020 in Abuja:
I am writing to let you know that on medical advice, I will transfer to Lagos later today for additional tests and observation. This is a precautionary measure. I feel well, but last week, I tested positive for coronavirus, the pandemic that is sweeping the world. I have followed all the protocols government has announced to self-isolate and quarantine.
I have made my own care arrangements to avoid further burdening the public health system, which faces so many pressures. Like many others that will test also positive, I have not experienced high fever or other symptoms associated with this new virus and have been working from home.
I hope to be back at my desk very soon. I have a team of young, professional, knowledgeable and patriotic colleagues, whose dedication has been beyond the call of duty, who continue to work seven days a week, with no time of the day spared. We will continue to serve the President and people of Nigeria, as we have for the past five years.
I want to thank all our fantastic, talented and brave healthcare professionals, working across the country in such a difficult time; all the good Samaritans looking out for the most vulnerable in our communities; the key workers that will keep our country going through this; friends and family and often strangers, who have sent me such warm wishes and displayed such a generosity of spirit.
We should be calm, measured and diligent – be meticulous in your hygiene, especially with cleaning hands, if possible stay at home or keep your distance. Listen to good advice from the proper authorities: pay no heed to quack cures or fake news from social media. President Buhari please do whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of our people and get the country back on its feet as soon as possible.
Like the whole world, we are dealing with a new disease. Our experts are learning more all the time about coronavirus, what it does and how we can combat it. What we do know is that while some may become very sick, many others who contract the virus will not, and may have no symptoms at all. This is a disease that recognizes no difference between north and south, men or women, rich or poor. We are all in this together.
Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari
Abba Kyari was born in 1952, to a Kanuri family from Borno. He was educated in St. Paul’s College in Wusasa Zaria, and later considered joining the Nigerian Army following advice from Mamman Daura and Ibrahim Tahir. In 1976, he met General Muhammadu Buhari who was then Governor of Borno State.
From 1988 to 1990, he was Editor with the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna. He also served as a Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno State in the 1990s.
From 1990 to 1995, Abba Kyari was the secretary to the board of the African International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
Abba 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.
In August 2015, Abba Kyari was appointed Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari. As chief of staff, he was widely considered to be the face of the “cabal” and the most powerful person in the Buhari administration.
During the administration’s first term, he worked mainly behind the scenes to implement the president’s agenda. In 2019 with Buhari’s re-election for a second term, he ordered his cabinet to channel all requests through Abba Kyari office, further enhancing his influence within government circles, and being labeled as the de facto head of government.
In 2017, following a leaked memo, Abba Kyari became embroiled in a public argument with the Head of Civil Service, who was later removed from office and arrested. In 2020, in another leaked memo, Babagana Monguno the National Security Adviser to the President accused Abba Kyari of meddling in matters of national security.
Abba Kyari was married to the sister-in-law of Ibrahim Tahir, and had four children, namely Aisha, Nurudeen, Ibrahim and Zainab. Unfortunately, he died on 29th March 2020 after contracting the deadly coronavirus disease.
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