By Sunday Attah
It is in public domain that Nigeria’s greatest enemies and detractors are hitting harder on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and every shadow of success around him. But this trend is not unusual with Nigerians.
In fact, foreigners resident in the country, sometimes, throw jovial banters that “It’s in the character of Nigerians to celebrate failure than success.”
The desperation to discredit the administration of President Buhari has become so pronounced that having found nothing incriminating about his person, the adversaries tend to malign his key appointees.
PMB and Alhaji Kyari
It follows that many of Buhari’s appointees are being plotted for failure and ultimate disgrace on their assigned beats through repeatedly fabricated phantom tales.
And the instigators feel, if the game succeeds, it’s enough dent on Buhari’s personal image, which will trumpet the failure of his government.
Precisely, the target of the political jobbers is to baselessly attack and weaken the spirit of every appointee who enjoys Buhari’s confidence and perceived as a pillar to his success.
Nigerians have been stampeded with such intrigues in recent times involving some highly placed personalities in Buhari’s government.
The pendulum has now oscillated to Buhari’s Chief of Staff (COS), Alhaji Abba Kyari.
He is currently facing the usually baseless irritabilities from a tiny clique of oblique Nigerians.
To effectively execute this plot, he has been arrogated powers beyond his office or consistently accused of over displaying the legitimate powers of same office.
Some who claim to be too “bothered” about his welfare, but flaunt malicious garments, even louds the overburdening of his person and office.
But Abba Kyari, the worker himself has not complained yet or exuded any sign of fatigue.
They are not querying Kyari’s competence as a lawyer and administrator in his near three decades of public service, which has remained unblemished.
Famed for an upright character and due process, Kyari has worked in prime establishments in the past. He has held sensitive positions like Secretary, Board of African International Bank Limited; Executive Director, Management Services, United Bank for Africa Plc. (UBA) and later, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of the same Bank.
As a Director of Unilever Nigeria Plc, he strayed into the oil industry as a Director in Exxon Mobil Nigeria.
In all these prime institutions, Kyari served excellently and in an era Nigeria celebrated sleaze as a virtue, he remained stainless.
It was therefore, no surprise that President Buhari perceived in him hard work, dedication and abundant honesty to appoint him one of his close aides in the Presidency.
However, detractors have suddenly found in him a rotten present by virtue of his closeness to President Buhari in Aso Villa.
But if a COS is not close to his boss, who else should be close?
The first attempt was to link him with an unsubstantiated secret plot to frustrate the confirmation of the Acting EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
The propagandists have stretched to the extent of roping the Director General, State Security (DSS) and other kitchen cabinet members of aligning with Kyari to scout for Magu’s replacement with a pliant man, they claimed had already been identified.
The theory was anchored on the unfounded claims that Kyari has been interfering with EFCC’s investigation of some corrupt politicians and businessmen.
Those who pushed forward these lame arguments, against sound reasoning placed the sole responsibility of appointing or replacing EFFC’s chairman on Kyari’s discretion.
But they forgot in the haste to remember that the Senate confirms the President’s EFCC nominee. So, the bulk does not stop on Kyari’s table, as they seem to suggest.
Thereafter, the plot to discredit Kyari resonated again when the President made him a board member of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Aside accusing Buhari of bias in the composition of the board, critics claim Kyari did not only impose Maikanti Kacalla Baru as the Group Managing Director (GMD), but against all established norms and protocols appointed himself on the Board.
But is this feasible under a Buhari Presidency who directly supervises the Petroleum ministry?
Nothing can be more undiscerning. And quoting the NNPC Act 2004, the critics only knew of Kyari’s appointment as violating the NNPC Act, hence he was not “nominated” by the National Council of Ministers, but conveniently buried Kyari’s “….ability, experience or specialized knowledge of the oil industry,” based on his stint with Exxon Mobile Nigeria as stipulated by the NNPC Act.
To find public justification for kicking against Kyari’s inclusion on the board of the NNPC, the veiled antagonists again accused him of prospecting on behalf of Valiant Offshore Contractors Limited, a private business, fronted by SeaWolf Oilfield Services Limited, said to be indebted to the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), through a First Bank of Nigeria loan of about N160billion.
But to acknowledge that the propaganda against Kyari is truly infantile, the same medium speculates about his expansive influence in Aso Rock and quoting an anonymous source, claims “the COS considers himself the alternate President of Nigeria,” by the simple explanation that he sometimes, jumps into official photographs with President Buhari at high profile events.
Similarly, it sounds odd to insinuate by any official reckoning that Kyari, who is not a member of Federal Executive Council (FEC) would order federal ministers to report to him instead of the President. And that an equally “lame” President Buhari blindly signs all memos brought to him by Kyari, without perusal. But no attestable instance has been given, where such “Kyari memos” have caused public reproach because of the failure of Buhari to digest the contents before approving.
Not only that the stories are obviously falsified, but the desperation to hang every loose end in the presidency on Kyari is so magnified that one is prompted to think President Buhari is a mere figure -head, as Abba Kyari rules Nigeria.
But it is instructive that a man who finds favour in the leader of a country, as Kyari is so opportuned under Buhari would have unseated the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu a long time ago.
The message is therefore soundly conveyed that Kyari’s proper grasps of the briefs of his office, which has kept power mongers miles away from penetrating the Presidency in masked faces is the source of the anger against him.
But Buhari remains committed to characters like him who have demonstrated strength to devour the perpetual sharks of every Presidency.
Attah is country rep, Stand Up Nigeria and contributed this piece from the United Arab Emirates.