Buhari’s chief of staff Abba Kyari dies of coronavirus
The chief of staff to the Nigerian president Abba Kyari is dead, presidential spokesmen Femi Adesina said on Saturday morning.
“Funeral arrangements to be announced soon,” Adesina said.
Garba Shehu, the special assistant on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, said Kyari died on Friday.
Kyari was suspected to have contracted the novel coronavirus when he visited Germany in early March multiple sources said. The presidency did not deny or confirm the rumours at the time.
It was only after his death that Shehu confirmed that Kyari had died of coronavirus.
“The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19, and had been receiving treatment,” Shehu said.
He was Buhari’s closest person in the cabinet. In fact, Buhari, while inaugurating his ministers in August, ordered them to make requests for meetings with him through his now-late chief of staff.
Multiple media reports said the president was also tested for the virus but his test came out negative. A number of top Nigerian politicians, some of whom met Kyari after his return from Germany, also took the test.
Three governors – Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi and Seyi Makinde of Oyo – all tested positive for the virus. Mohammed and Makinde have since recovered.
Kyari graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Warwick, in 1980 and also received a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1983.
A year later, he obtained a master’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge and later attended the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland.
He participated in the Programme for Management Development at the Harvard Business School, in 1992 and 1994, respectively, and practised law while working at 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 and had a stint as commissioner in his native Borno State in 1990.
For the next five years, he was the secretary to the board of African International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
He also held positions as an Executive Director at the United Bank for Africa, and later 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.
Left behind to mourn the rather quiet officer are his wife and four children, numerous relatives, and a Nigerian nation many agree he served diligently.