Abba Kyari: A Chief of Staff like no other

Abba Kyari: A Chief of Staff like no other
March 07 00:03 2018 Print This Article

By Lanre Solomon

When a certain indigene of Borno state was appointed as Honorary member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Investment in Nigeria (PACIN) in year 2000, not too many had any reason to wonder who that gentleman was and where he was coming from. Reason: the said person, Abba Kyari, had distinguished himself over and over again in various areas of human endavours for tens of years. However, unlike the typical “big man” of his caliber, Kyari hardly ever courts publicity or attention, preferring to remain in the background as he dazzles all and sundry with his unrivaled competence, management expertise and remarkable leadership acumen.

Kyari started his preparations for what would subsequently become a glittering career across the broad spectrum of law, journalism, banking and politics by acquiring a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Warwick, England 1980. Barely three years later, he also bagged a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law from the University of Cambridge, England and subsequently earned another Masters degree in Law from his alma-mater, the University of Cambridge. Called to the Nigerian Bar.

Just when some of those who had indentified his potentials as a budding legal luminary thought the stage was set for a glittering career in the legal profession, he veered into the media arena, holding sway as Editor with the New Africa Holdings Ltd, Kaduna, publishers of The Democrat newspaper. From there, he proceeded to his home state of Borno where he served as Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in 1990. This was also the period Kyari’s romance with the financial sector started, as he was made Secretary to the Board of African International Bank Ltd, a post he held between 1990 and 1995.

Eager to broaden his knowledge and skills in this dynamic terrain, the ex-newspaper editor headed for the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1992. Two years later, specifically in 1994, he also participated in the Programme for Management Development at the globally-acclaimed Harvard Business School where he acquitted himself well in diverse aspects of manpower, material and machinery management.

With such a broad range of academic attainment coupled with his track record of performance and expertise in various fields, it came as little or no surprise to anyone when Kyari was made the Executive Director (Management Services) of United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA). So impressive was his performance that the bank’s management wasted no time in elevating him to the position of Managing Director. A recipient of the Nigerian National Honours Award of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), he was appointed a Director of the multinational conglomerate, Unilever Nigeria Plc in 2002.

Against this backdrop, when in 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari made this multi-talented gentleman his Chief of Staff, the general consensus was that a Daniel had come to judgment, nay come to make a significant difference in the new administration and its change mantra. Living up to this larger-than-life reputation, Abba Kyari has not looked back since, going the extra mile in his effort to keep the Buhari administration’s going and on the right track. He is a Chief of Staff like no other in recent memory.