BY ADEMOLA BALOGUN
The orchestrated protests against Mallam Abba Kyari remains an unfortunate development in several respects. Clearly sponsored by some elements calling and timed for maximum effect the sponsored protest for the sacking of Mallam Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari was done in absolute bad fate by disgruntled elements. At best it is an irritation and a detracting not worthy of the time of any serious Nigerian who is wants the best for this country.
In the manner of human existence the tendency to want to remove or cause to remove or destroy something one does not like is common. But Abba Kyari is not in the job of having people like him. He is in a hot job. A job that demands a mind of steel and a concentrated mind to help Mr. President make hard decisions. Unfortunately rather than support him to handle the demands of his office well some political jobbers want to confuse the President to remove him. This is a flight of fancy. A fallacy.
Mallam Abba Kyari seems a nemesis for a segment of the population for reasons best known to them. In some quarters, it has been stated that he is the unseen finger behind every decision. Some also say that he is the de facto president and head of the cabal that controls the president. Some have also said worse things all aimed at giving a dog a bad name so it can be hanged.
In all of these, there are some fundamentals in those that have refused to see anything good in Mallam Abba Kyari. Its either of two things. Mischief or lack of patriotism. This is also aside from the fact that it was evident that a group of people sponsored the protest against the Chief of Staff for reasons best known to them. There is a possibility that it hasn’t been business usual and they are angered with the way, and manner the Chief of Staff has carried out his duties.
At some point, it was one week one trouble for Abba Kyari. It got to the point that if newspapers want to sell, there must be a story on Abba Kyari. And I wondered what it was with Abba Kyari them seems to give some people sleepless nights. And my conclusion was that there must be something about him that is unique.
It might be his administrative style that emphasizes on strict adherences to due process in line with the stance of his boss that all must be in the overall interest of the country and not a select few. I say this for two reasons. One is the fact that those that have interacted closely with him would readily tell that Abba Kyari means different things to different people. To the first group, Abba Kyari is the head the cabal in the presidency that prevents President Muhammadu Buhari from fulfilling his campaign promises to the electorates, the one that is involved in all the shady deals in the country, the one that collected bribe from MTN Nigeria, the one that also ensures that nothing good comes out of Nigeria.
To the second group, Abba Kyari is the one that pays attention to details. The one who ensures that the right procedures are followed in the conduct of government business. The one that works round the clock in ensuring that governance is not left in limbo. The one that also ensures that religion or ethnicity does not replace meritocracy.
Quite an interesting personality, you would agree. But given the circumstances that lead to the protest, I would go with the second Abba Kyari. Yes, the detailed Abba Kyari that has been a thorn in the flesh of those that thought it would be business as usual with the Buhari administration. Make no mistakes. I am not saying he is a saint. But he is not what the hired protesters want the world to believe.
Part of the agitations by the protesters was that he had spent over 40 years in government and I wondered because it is most likely they mistook his Abba Kyari for another. For the records, the Abba Kyari I know has been a lawyer, journalist, and banker. I stand to be corrected; his appointment as Chief of Staff is probably his first shot at governance in Nigeria at this level. And they were wrong.
Those who know Abba Kyari have stated in numerous forums that he is an intelligent and detailed man that would read and analyze memos with the eye of an eagle. He would ask questions about the minutest details. It was also said that any attempt to play on his intelligence always ends up in futility right from his days as a lawyer and banker.
I stand to be corrected, the sponsors of the protest acted in crass ignorance for want of a better expression thinking he was that mediocre who doesn’t know is onions. And they wondered how he was able to bring finesse to the office he occupies. For the records, Abba Kyari graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of Warwick, England. He also possessed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law from the University of Cambridge and was called to the Nigerian Bar after attending the Nigerian Law School. He obtained a master’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge and participated in the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School.
Does the above explain the stuff he is made of? Does the above indicate that the Chief of Staff is a mediocre? Does it tell us why some are uncomfortable with his administrative style? Would such a cosmopolitan individual reduce himself to ethnic or religious pettiness? Your guess is as good as mine.
I could go on nonstop on Abba Kyari in other areas that would put issues in proper perspectives. But I am quite convinced that President Muhammadu Buhari would always laugh whenever his Chief of Staff is accused of all manner of misdemeanor because we are in a country where once you are on the side of truth, you are considered a villain and not a hero. Where once you put national interest above personal and selfish interest, you are also considered not fit for purpose and must be shown the way out by all means necessary, including character assassination and sponsored street protests. This is the case of Abba Kyari. But the truth remains that if nobody talks about you, then you are a nobody.
In this case, Abba Kyari is somebody whose devotion to the service to fatherland is remarkably commendable. This much every discerning mind knows. It has not been business as usual, and that is the crux of the matter for those that see nothing good in Abba Kyari.
Ademola Balogun wrote in from Ilorin