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Mamman Daura: How Abba Kyari almost became Obasanjo’s VP in 1999

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Kyari, who died of complications from COVID-19 on April 17, was chief of staff to Buhari. 

In a tribute, Daura described Kyari as an intelligent man who could have been the second in command when Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999. 

“These times coincided with the country’s return to democracy and Malam Abba was among those enthusiastically espousing the cause of General Obasanjo,” Daura said.

“On his selection as PDP candidate, a group of women and youths in the PDP lobbied Obasanjo to pick Malam Abba as his vice presidential running mate. After heated debates, Obasanjo eventually picked Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. 


“In the 2003 elections, Malam Abba was in opposite camps with President Obasanjo. General Muhammadu Buhari had declared his intention the previous year to contest the presidency and Malam Abba joined his team and worked wholeheartedly in all the campaigns through the drudgery and injustices of the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections without losing hope or sight of the ultimate goal.”
Daura said the late Kyari stood firmly behind Buhari and his “perseverance paid off” in 2015 when Buhari won the presidential election. 

“To his great surprise, the president appointed Malam Abba as the chief of staff. Fortified by the rigours of a Cambridge education and varied experience in banking, industry, investment and journalism, Malam Abba set himself the task of defining the role, functions and status of the chief of staff. He started by consulting previous incumbents of the position he could reach as a way of educating himself of the challenges ahead of him,” he said
Daura said the late Kyari lived a very simple life and avoided flamboyance which many in his class were known for.

“He lived a fairly simple life and habitually wore a red cap, white clothing and black shoes. He had to be forced by his friends to change the cap and he wore the shoes to the ground before buying a new pair,” he wrote.
“Malam Abba Kyari was a man blessed with mountainous gifts and uncommon attributes of intelligence, diligence, hard work, loyalty to friends and worthy causes.” 

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