By Festus Yisa

The death of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, has brought forth a Tsunami of varying reactions and conflicting arguments, particularly hinged on whether it is right or wrong to mourn his death, or to rejoice. All these needless arguments have left one important question unanswered: What would be posterity’s verdict on the life and times of Abba Kyari?

Abba Kyari, Late Chief of Staff To Buhari 

Those in the pro-mourn Kyari school of thought argue that it is only morally right to mourn for the deceased, irrespective of the kind of life she or he lived. Summarily, this argument is in tandem with the saying in Tiv: “Or doon ke ku”, literarily meaning, ‘Mankind is always good in death’. They further maintain that jubilations trailing a deceased’s death would certainly be offensive to his or her family as it would amount to another sardonic parcel heaped on the already existing grief.

In addition, the pro-mourn Kyari group reminds anyone rejoicing over the Late Chief of Staff’s death that they will also either surely lose loved ones someday, or eventually die some day also; hence they should imagine themselves at the receiving end of sarcasm or jubilation when such moments come.

On the other side of the divide are the pro-jubilants of Kyari’s death who hold sway that the deceased Chief of Staff to the President defied good, ethics and seperation of power by captaining the ship of the cabal in the President Buhari-led government and as a consequence, ran the Nigerian leadership show, as alleged by the President’s wife, Aisha Buhari.
According to these jubilants, Abba Kyari, being a long-standing trusted ally of Buhari, took advantage of the President’s trust, erratic health and alleged intellectual deficiency, to metamorphose into Nigeria’s de facto president, and unofficially whittled down the powers of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

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Kyari, they argue, was the only road that led to and from the President; every blessing or favour craved and yearned for by anyone, from the president, was first gratified by Kyari, otherwise, it always was a wild goose chase.

Finally, the jubilants of Kyari’s death maintain that he was largely responsible for the underdevelopment of Nigeria under President Buhari as he had all the de facto powers to fix the country, but chose to maintain the status quo. They even go as far as accusing him of entrenching bribery, corruption, lopsided political appointments across ethnic lines, hijacking multi-billion naira contracts/projects, and so forth.

In my candid disposition, however anyone chooses to react to Late Kyari’s death, is the least important issue at the moment, especially if such reaction does not infringe on any one’s rights. What is important now is a deliberate attempt to envisage how future generations would remember Kyari.

Kyari would surely be remembered as a very sound mind whom, with every sense of loyalty, took the stones and bullets on behalf of President Buhari; he would be remembered as the Chief of Staff who, instead of entrenching the principle of separation of power by letting the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, to travel to Germany to fine tune the Nigerian power/electricity deal with the German company – Siemens – chose to fuse power to himself by making that ill-fated trip by himself which got his life shackled by the venomous claws of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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When the gavel of posterity sounds, the verdict preceding it would depict Mr Kyari as one of the most powerful decision makers and policy influencers in the Buhari government, who through their policies, invested little or nothing in education and healthcare in Nigeria, but preferred to regularly fly abroad for medical jamboree.

He would be remembered as one who got stock in Nigeria at the twilight of his life when even their medical fortress in the UK was already overwhelmed by the pandemic that was destined to doom him.

Kyari would be remembered as being partly culpable in the allegation by Aisha Buhari recently, that even the Aso Villa presidential hospital meant to cater for the presidency and the likes of Kyari, was so poorly equipped that it lacked such common drugs as Paracetamol despite billions allocated for its maintenance under Kyari’s watch.

He would be remembered as a top government official, who defied one of the basic NCDC guidelines by refusing to quarantine or self-isolate upon his return from Germany and Egypt where he contracted the deadly virus. He was apparently guilty of the hubris of pride and arrogance until it became too late.

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Posterity will also remember Kyari as a learned lawyer cum Chief of Staff who, sometime ago, took the Deep Offshore (and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract) bills for the President to sign in London on his sick bed.

Posterity will also wonder why as a lawyer, he did not prevail on his boss to transmit power to his deputy before embarking on his medical trip in the yonder.

Kyari would be remembered by posterity as one whose burial rites as broadcast live on national television, was a show of shame, ridicule and utter disregard for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines in the wake of the killer-COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from the fact that the order for social distancing was grossly flouted at the burial, the advice against crowded gatherings was thrown to the wind. Worse off, was the reported public disposal of the PPE kits by one of the pallbearers at the burial.

Kyari’s burial will surely be remembered as a potential biological bomb inadvertently detonated using the COVID-19 “missile”.

Finally, in its verdict, posterity will never forget Abba Kyari as one of the persons who made the Nigerian system what it is; a system which eventually turned out to not only haunt the common man, but also its makers.

Festus Yisa Writes from Abuja 

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