Abba Kyari , Saint or Daemon?
From My Column, “The Standpoint”
The office of Chief of Staff is a very powerful one, having borrowed it from the Americans( Haba, we borrowed their Presidential System too) it is only natural that such an office exhibits tendencies of the original, for in the United States of America, the Chief of Staff is also known by the sobriquet “ Gatekeeper” he holds access to the presidency and whether we like it or not has leverage over all forms of policy that government intends to pursue.
True, the Chief of Staff is as powerful or as powerless as the President wants him to be but more times than ever, Chief of Staffs have being more powerful than powerless.
Moving to Nigeria, the situation remains the same, Chief of Staffs are most times powerful than they are powerless, they in the case of our political trajectory so powerful that a number of them have moved from being in such roles to occupying the position they had earlier worked for, the likes of Babatunde Raji Fashola, Theodore Orji, Nyesome Wike and Gboyega Oyetola are living examples, others have also used such offices as launchpads to other political accomplishments.
At the higher level of the Presidency, the same obtains, in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s time the office wasn’t that powerful and one can understand due to the fact that the occupier himself is one person who doesn’t like to shirk responsibility except it runs counter to his image as a saint.
This same Chief of Staff, in Major General Abudallahi Muhammed showed his teeth in the days of Musa Umaru Yar Adua before he was forced out from government by those who felt they couldn’t trust him enough to shield the late Yar Adua from the coming tribulations his administration was to encounter. The likes of Gbolade Osinowo ,Mike Ogiadome former Deputy Governor of Edo State and Jones Arogbofa were said to be pushovers.
This could be said to be true as one would recall that under President Jonathan, this nation was alleged to have been governed by five women.
Enter Abba Kyari and Nigerians seem to have come to a new realization of the powers of a Chief Of Staff. Haven come out of political obscurity, Nigerians have in a manner come to allude to the Borno born technocrat every known or perceived misdeed of the Buhari administration, when they come hard on Buhari, Kyari is sure to take the rap, he is seen as the unseen hand behind every act of this government, he is the head of the cabal unbelievably holding President Buhari and his cabinet to ransom.
Should President Buhari move his head this way, it is Abba Kyari, should he dance to boboraba music, it is Abba Kyari that is pulling the strings. Should there be an imaginary wedding between President Buhari and a female minister, of course, it is Kyari that did the match making! Abba Kyari has been so vilified that one sometimes is forced to sympathize with him for taking a job as tough as his, as one knows that in Nigeria it is easy to paint one as a daemon than as a saint!
This is not to say that Kyari is a saint, for the office of Chief of Staff is surely not one for saints, it is more like an office where even a lamb sometimes takes the characteristics of a lion to protect the interests of his principal and the presidency, thus if Abba Kyari is painted as a daemon it may then not be that he is one per se but the fact that he is seen as inimical to the interests of many.
These interests range from those within the presidency to those within the cabinet, party as well as the opposition party, to them, Abba Kyari is thus the devil’s incarnate who does not wish President Buhari well. Come to think of it, should Abba Kyari have danced to their interests would these interests have painted him as such.
Again,this piece is not in praise of Abba Kyari, like I earlier said, he is no saint and has definitely had his own share of mistakes as seen in some of the errors made by this administration. Perhaps, it is an admonition for the Chief of Staff to see himself as the linchpin
of the Buhari Administration, where it’s successes or failures largely pivot around his office, Abba Kyari has a date with destiny and an explanation to posterity.He can either make or mar the presidency, his image and the future of this nation.
He is said to be an intellectual, with degrees spanning from Cambridge to the University of Warwick, IMD and Harvard Business School, he should let Nigerians see this side of him; he must also bring his wealth of his experience
to the presidency, to shaping policies that will be to the benefit of the Buhari administration and to the progress of this country.
Millions of Nigerians are praying that Buhari succeeds, it is in the hands of the likes of Abba Kyari amongst many others to ensure that the hopes of the people of this sleeping Giant of Africa is rekindled!