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The Man Called Abba Kyari



Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari who died on Friday, April 17 2020 from coronavirus related complications was believed to be the most influential cabinet member of Buhari’s government.

Kyari who had contracted the deadly coronavirus in March, leading to his hospitalisation and eventual death is widely regarded as a politician but his rich career background shows us there was more to the man. Here are facts you should know about him:

He was from the Kanuri tribe in Borno state.

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. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1983 after attending the Nigerian Law School.

Kyari worked for the law firm Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo for some time after his return to Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Nigerians React To Absence Of Social Distancing At Abba Kyari’s Burial


  • 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

His foray into politics came to light in 2015 when he joined the Buhari’s administration, working behind the scenes. In 2019 with Buhari’s re-election for a second term, he ordered his cabinet to channel all requests through Kyari’s office. This would eventually lead to Kyari being labelled as the de facto head of government.

Kyari reportedly died at First Cardiology Consultants Hospital, Lagos on 17 April 2020. He died from complications related to COVID-19. Kyari was married to the sister-in-law of Ibrahim Tahir, and had four children.


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