On June 24, 2019, an unusual political activity took place in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. A public demonstration staged by an obscure political group that gave its name as All Progressives Congress Concerned Nation Stakeholders, led by an even more obscure figure called Dr. Symeon Chilagorom, proclaimed that they were protesting against internal forces pulling down the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In his public speech, Chilagorom specifically identified Alhaji Mamman Daura, Samaila Isa Funtua and Mallam Abba Kyari as members of the group that is pulling down the administration. In his words: “The people of this country elected Muhammadu Buhari as their President, not Mamman Daura, Samaila Isa Funtua and Mallam Abba Kyari.”
Of the three people mentioned in that speech, only Kyari holds an office in the Buhari government. He is Chief of Staff in the Presidency. The other two accused persons hold no office in the government whatsoever. The agitators protesting their role in government have a responsibility to prove to Nigerians how the President has abdicated his executive responsibilities to them or how they have hijacked those duties and responsibilities.
The office of Chief of Staff is not of Cabinet rank, the holder of the office wields no executive powers, controls no ministry and or department of government. He is an extension of the office of the president, playing managerial and advisory roles such as selection and coordination of key staff, control of people who come to see the President and protecting the interest of the President or any other responsibilities that are entrusted to him by his principal. To demonstrate that he is subordinate to the president, the Constitution does not require that he is screened and confirmed by the Senate.
To accuse him of usurping the powers of the President is to accuse the President of gross incompetence and dereliction of duty. Even as Chaligorom and his group make great pretence of “love for the President” and vouching for his “personal integrity and capabilities”, the implication of their public pronouncement and outburst on Monday is that the President is incompetent and has lost control of his office.
It is indeed sad that people who profess love for their President and trust in his competence will in the same breath accuse him of abdicating his office to a subordinate he employed and has the powers to fire. This accusation is even more grave and an open insult on the President when a few individuals who have no office in government are accused of rendering the president impotent in exercising the powers invested in him by the constitution he swore to uphold and defend. The target for destruction by Symeon and his confederates in the APC Concerned Nation Stakeholders is not Mamman Daura, not Ismaila Funtua and certainly not Abba Kyari. The target is the President himself.
With ‘friends’ like Symeon Chulagorom and his group, President Buhari does not need to worry about who is his enemies.
Since his appointment as Chief of Staff to President Buhari in 2015, Abba Kyari has been faced with a cocktail of spurious allegations against his person. None of these allegations have been proven and remain in the realm of speculation and fiction by those who are envious of his enhanced status. The public is yet to be presented with any evidence that the man is corrupt and or incompetent for the job. The demonstration on Monday carried the unsubstantiated allegations a notch higher. If anything, a glance at the resume of Abba Kyari gives one conclusive prove that President Buhari couldn’t have made a better choice for the office of Chief of Staff.
Trained at University of Warwick in England where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology, he also possesses a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law from the University of Cambridge. He was called to the Nigerian Bar after attending the Nigerian Law School in 1983. In 1984, he obtained a master’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. He later attended the International Institute for Management at Lausanne, Switzerland and participated in the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School, in 1992 and 1994. These are the best universities one could attend anywhere in the world.
After such a brilliant academic career, Abba Kyari worked in a couple of blue chip firms where he acquired management skills and gained a lot of corporate experience. He 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 Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in BornoState. From 1990 to 1995, Kyari was Secretary to the Board of African International Bank Limited.
At the United Bank for Africa, he was Executive Director, Management Services and was later appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Bank. He was appointed a Director of Unilever Nigeria Plc. in 2002 and is a Director of Exxon Mobil Nigeria. He is a recipient of the Nigerian Honor Award of Officer of the Order of the Niger.
There is no doubt that Kyari must have made enemies among some prominent people in the country who see him as an obstacle to their inordinate political ambition and rapacious desire for material resources. All the noise against Kyari must be coming from this group of people who see the country as a cow to be milked.
The other two gentlemen who are being maligned with spurious and unsubstantiated allegations are private citizens who have made their marks in their chosen careers but have no office in government. Why Symeon Chulagorom and group should embark on a campaign of gratuitous calumny against these two patriots is difficult for all sane Nigerians to understand.
The constitution under which President Buhari was elected into office does not bar him from having blood relations nor does it require of him to cut communication with his blood relations or friends. There is nothing in the laws of the land or morality that bars him from having blood and or personal relations with other Nigerians.
Since President Buhari’s election in 2015, the two gentlemen have been subjected to spurious allegations from some aggrieved politicians and their collaborators in the media. The public demonstrations last Monday is perhaps the most bizarre demonstration of hatred and political illiteracy since the 4thRepublic began. This one too shall come to pass.
. Adodo is the National Convener, Guardians of Democracy and Development. He writes from Abuja, Nigeria.