Will Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari make meaningful progress? Will the government take proper shape by allotting duties to qualified persons? Will the vice-presidentand the several ministers now have easy access to their president? And most importantly, will there be reversal of memos and decisions that was taken onthe president’s behalf by Mallam Kyari? 

Although, the presidency and indeed the federation of Nigeria mourns at the moment; critical questions as to the future of everything without Mallam Kyari are surely on the minds andthe lips of many. For over five years since 2015 when this administration came on board, it has been mostly known for blame games. Initially, the blame game started with the PDP as target for malicious accusations but it soon shifted to Mr. Kyari. 

At a time, Mallam Kyari was acclaimed the most powerful man in the cabinet and during that time, Nigeria’s many problems grew from bad to worse to the point that joblessness and hunger stared the nation in the face and the government could do nothing about it. Everyday the people of Nigeria would wake up to one horrible story or the other. 

As time passed, it became clear that the President Buhari-led APC government had nothing but bias politics to offer Nigerians. I recalled with sadness – for instance – how the former CJN Walter Onnoghen was removed from office. It was a needless removal, one that clearly showed what the administration’s intentions were. Classified information had it that Aliyu Umar SAN – a former Attorney-General of Kano state – had in cohorts with the now rested Mallam Abba Kyari conspired against Onnoghen with an ex-parte order obtained from the CCT. 

The ex-parte order and Onnoghen’s removal took place sometime in April of the year 2019. Interestingly, almost a year later, Aliyu Umar (SAN) – dying the same day as Kyari – is now rested in his grave. Now, many see the sudden demise of both men as evidence that a malicious conspiracy was meted on Onnoghen. Don’t forget that we are Africans and, that when things happen like this, we attribute superstition to it. 

Over the years, Mallam Abba Kyari – although quiet and gentle in appearance – had transformed into a very powerful Chief of Staff. Particularly, after the 2019 elections his hands were seen directing those of the President to whittle the privileges enjoyed by the Vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN. Not a few Nigerians were pained by this malicious insult on the office of the vice-president. 

But as I reflect on the VP’s ordeal now, I begin to see the mighty hand of God at work in the affairs of Nigeria. The trip to Germany by Mallam Kyari ought to have been undertaken by the vice-president. This is because he chaired the economic council and not Kyari. Overrating his importance however, Mallam Kyari took the place of VP and embarked on the journey that eventually ended his life in a most humiliating manner. 

Kyari once had a face-off with the former head of service of the federation and shortly after that she was fired. The national security adviser Babagana Monguno had issues with his style of working in the role of chief of staff and, the government downplayed the serious matter. He appointed himself on the board of the NNPC as non-executive director yet this is a man that many claimed was who he was because he was upright. 

The unbearable influence of Mallam Kyari on the president and the entire government was such that appointees of the government both at the federal and the state level feared him more than they feared the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. His death will no doubt signal unbridled looting of the country’s treasury, diverting of public funds which were unconstitutionally arranged by him and executive maladministration. 

Even though he frowned at brazen corruption and would’ve opted for a decent way of stealing public funds, himself was a brazen thief. The 500 million naira bribery allegation against him, which never came before any panel of inquiry or court of law, involved an abuse by the MTN and had attracted a worthy fine from the NCC against MTN Nigeria until Kyari stepped into the matter. 

Nigeria has no doubt seen kleptomaniacs before but this man is one corporate hit-man that was too brilliant to be unruffled and too influential to be brought to book. And even in death, Mallam Kyari still tore governments apart. Not up to 24 hours after his demise, the Kano state government fired its Commissioner for Works and infrastructure –Engr. Muázu Magaji – for making; according to the government, indiscreet comments. 

It remains to be seen – in the days ahead – what will become of this administration; if there is going to be a personality worthy of the president’s trust and confidence as a replacement for Kyari and, most importantly, if the president can exercise enough grip on his ministers, as he had during the reign of Kyari. Like the ThisDay Newspaper headlines of 18th April, 2020 puts it; Nigeria is indeed mourning. 

This is a season of great mourning for the country and not a season of jubilation. Even though the man whom many perceive as enemy of the common man was dead, there is still the conspiracy to ground this country and the buccaneers are still around. His brief absence from power – for instance – saw the accountant-general’s office gutted by fire while accusations and counter-accusation of the loss of several billions raged.

His short absence has since brought to the fore characters like the minister for humanitarian affairs, who looked clearly unwilling to give the government’s palliative package the needed national spread it deserved. If Kyari were around, he probably would’ve frowned at the idea of giving monies to the market-women or trader-moni way. He most certainly would’ve chosen an option that’ll shore up the image of his co-president. 

While I condole with Mr. President, the Kyari family and fellow comrade-in-arms, I wish to state clearly that the vice-president of Nigeria should be reinstated back to his office – that is, given back his portfolios. Secondly, that it was time we gave truth a chance to thrive. For every politician is covetous and selfish. But if acovetous bunch sits down and decides the fate of the future; greed will die a natural death. 

The Italian mafia has tried this before and it worked. In fact, it shaped the criminal market into an organized empire. The state of Nigeria now is dealing with both the rich and the poor. But can there be a round table discussion for a solution; like a tell-me-what-you-want-and-I’ll-tell-you-what-I-want kind of meeting? 

Running Nigeria like a sole-proprietor investment is no longer tenable because as soon as the proprietor dies, the business either dies or takes a long time to recover. Nigeria can be better ran as a public limited company with a board of directors where the gains or loses falls on everyone. Question is: now that the surrogate president is gone; what becomes of his co-president and the government he left behind? 

Comrade Ifeanyichukwu Mmoh is an advocate for attitudinal change. 

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