The chief of staff to the Nigerian president, Abba Kyari is dead, presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said early this Saturday morning.
Adesina, however, did not say when Kyari, who has been in the hospital for some time, died. “Funeral arrangements to be announced soon,” he said
A Kanuri from Borno, not much is known about Kyari’s early life. 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.
On March 24, 2020, it was made public that Kyari tested positive for COVID-19 on March 23, following an official trip to Germany nine days before. It was also reported that Kyari has underlying medical conditions, and was secretly flown out of the country. He later rejected these claims, and was moved from Abuja to Lagos.
He died on Friday 17th April, 2020 as a result of the virus. The federal government announced through its spokesman Femi Adesina at about that funeral arrangements were to be made public without much delay. His burial would follow up immediately.
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.
In August 2015, Kyari was appointed Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Since his appointment, Kyari has become an influential figure within 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 Kyari’s office. Further enhancing his influence within government circles, and being labelled as the de facto head of government
In 2017, following a leaked memo, 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 accused Kyari of meddling in matters of national security