Abba Kyari: The Chief Of Staff They Don’t Know, By Gidado Ibrahim

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Often, the success of any president is predicated on the effectiveness of his/her Chief of Staff (CoS). The CoS is the one who works behind the scenes to solve problems, mediate disputes, and deal with issues before they are brought to the president. Often chiefs of staff play the roles of a confidante and advisor to the president, acting as a sounding board for ideas.

Since his appointment as Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, Mallam Abba Kyari has redefined what the role of an efficient CoS should be. Under the current administration, he serves as an administrative stabilizer, a deft crisis manager and a goal getter. kyari’s loyalty to President Buhari has been excellent and that is why they hate his modus operandi and strategy on implementing presidential directives.

Kyari, a legal luminary, Banker and seasoned technocrats, is a man who believes in honesty integrity and justice. Out of unwavering courage, Kyari has deliberately fought the bad political parasites bent on truncating the fight against corruption and insecurity. He has been maligned without facts because his traducers are desperate to scandalize and push him out so that they will have their way in committing crimes against the Nigerian state.

Needless to re-emphasise that transparency among Nigerians is the number one policy of President Buhari, and Kyari as the gatekeeper in the seat of power has been doing his utmost best to promote and ensure the policies of government succeed. From observation throughout the country, it has been discovered that the kyari style of loyalty to the president is the best Nigeria needs now.

Series of information have been falsified in order to build negative press against Kyari. The ultimate aim of this is to tarnish his proven loyalty to the president and Commander-in-Chief. Propagandas are being traded by merchants of falsehood and mischief makers, whose stock in trade is the ‘pull him down syndrome.’ They are people of questionable character, who don’t have the best interest of our country at heart. Their angst is that they cannot fit into Abba Kyari’s administrative ideology.

Compared to standard best practices around the world, it is evidently clear in his service to his boss and humanity that Kyari is among the best Chiefs of Staff in the world. Three qualities that have helped Kyari in the discharge of his duties excellently are that he is highly trustworthy and able to build trust with others in his position as a gatekeeper to President Buhari.

Trust is hard earned and easily lost. Trust is built by doing what you say and saying what you do. Trust is the Chief of Staff being the “steady rudder” in a sea of chaos. The CoS as a trust builder is able to convey in a positive and assuring manner the president’s position/action at any given moment. The most important trust is between the CoS and the president. In fact, that trust-relationship must be so strong that it is known throughout the country.

Another key quality that stands Kyari out is judgment. It is key to a successful CoS appointment. Much of the work of the CoS involves independently working the gap between the president and others. Given the speed of leadership and management in Nigeria today, there will be moments that the CoS will have to make a decision and act with utmost overriding interest in mind.

Thirdly, the most important of Kyari’s attributes that makes him succeed as the Chief of Staff is ‘disposition.’ Disposition is the most crucial and challenging quality, in that the CoS often speaks for the president even though he is not the president.  The Chief of Staff is like an extension of the president. The CoS is working on behalf of the president. Therefore, the CoS must have an extraordinary understanding of the president, so that talking and working with the CoS is an effective extension of working with the president

Kyari has been able to provide a buffer between President Buhari and the president reporting system. The chief of staff generally works behind the scenes to solve problems, mediate disputes, and deal with issues before they are brought to the chief executive of the country. Often, chiefs of staff act as a most reliable confidante and advisor to the president, acting as a sounding board for ideas. Ultimately the actual duties depend on the position and the people involved.

The aforementioned features of some of the roles and responsibilities of a chief of staff to the president clearly indicate that it is a position expected to be occupied by a unique personality, who is flexible, well versed and an expert in local and international relations.

The people throwing all sorts of trashes to Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Buhari, are not ignorantly doing so. They have an agenda with a preplanned campaign of calumny orchestrated by enemies of Nigeria, whose sole motive is to create confusion that will prevent Nigerians from understanding the giant strides achieved so far by the Buhari administration.

The role of Kyari as the chief of staff is defined by the ability to provide strategic counsel to the president. His position is an increasingly critical component in supporting a successful leadership team. At its core, a Chief of Staff is responsible for serving as strategic advisor and counsel to the president. He assumes day-to-day responsibility for projects and tasks as well as creating and maintaining cross-departmental relationships to enable leadership success.

Educationally, Kyari is sound. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of Warwick, England in 1980. He also obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law from the University of Cambridge, England and 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.

Kyari later attended the International Institute for Management Development at Lausanne, Switzerland and participated in the Programme for Management Development at the Harvard Business School between 1992 and 1994.

– Ibrahim is Director, Communication and Strategic Planning, of the Presidential Support Committee


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