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Race for Abba Kyari’s successor begins

After his burial yesterday, the battle for the seat of the late powerful Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Malam Abba Kyari, has discreetly commenced. Names of a likely successor to Kyari, who lost his battle to coronavirus on Friday, are being speculated. In the Presidency, names of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babagana Kingibe, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu and Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd) are being pushed as likely successor to Kyari. Kingibe, 74, was the vice presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1993. In 2018, he was conferred with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) by President Buhari.

Also, Ali, a former military administrator of Kaduna State, was Buhari’s chief of staff until Kyari’s appointment in 2015. Born in 1955, his appointment as Customs boss created a wall between him and the president. For his part, Adamu, a former columnist in Daily Trust is very close to the president. He was secretary to Buhari’s Transition Committee in 2015. Factors Buhari must consider It was learnt that in choosing Kyari’s replacement, elder statesmen of northern extraction, politicians and analysts have enumerated factors that should be considered by President Buhari. An elder statesman who did not want to be named because of the sensitive nature of the matter, urged the president to appoint an intelligent young person as Kyari’s successor. In an interview with Daily Trust on Sunday, he said, “The president needs a young man who is a politician with a good level of understanding of the country.

“Also, whoever is going to be chief of staff must know the country very well.  Buhari should equally look at where we are coming from, what we have done wrong and what can be done to reset the machinery of governance for this regime. “We need somebody who is very compassionate and has the ability to diplomatically tell Mr.  President, ‘No, we cannot cross this line.’ He should also be able to say, ‘Yes, we can cross this line.’’ Also speaking, Senator Abu Ibrahim, a close ally of the president, described Kyari as a highly intelligent, dedicated and committed aide. “Buhari is a very careful person.  I am sure he would search for a person who shares his dream for the country. I pray the president would choose the right person,’’ he said. A political strategist and communication consultant, Abbati Bako, said Kyari’s successor must be an experienced and competent technocrat. “He should be familiar with the running of democratic governance. He should be ready with the huge task in the Villa. Abba Kyari’s replacement must be intelligent and energetic, considering the age of President Muhammadu Buhari,’’ he said. Describing Kyari as a number one key figure in Buhari’s government, Bako said his death had left a huge vacuum in the government. “He did his best to stabilise the running of government. It is unfortunate that Kyari died in active service, but his tremendous contributions will be remembered for a long time to come.

“Despite some of his shortcomings, he died as a controversial figure of the government. His memory and services deserve to be cherished. What will now boggle the minds of analysts is: Who will become the next chief of staff? He said, praying for the repose of the late chief of staff. While Kyari’s family and associates mourn him, the battle to succeed him will continue to gather momentum until President Buhari announces his successor. First appointed on August 27, 2015, Kyari’s reign witnessed many controversies, even within Buhari’s kitchen cabinet. He was reappointed on July 5 last year, following Buhari’s inauguration for a second term. The key duty of a chief of staff, according to State House website, is to oversee the Office of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In addition to that, the occupant of the office manages the president’s schedule and correspondences, and any other duty that may be assigned to him by the president.

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