The former Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari was a lot of things to a lot of people during the period he served in public office.
On March 24, 2020, it was made public that Kyari tested positive for COVID-19 on March 23, following an official trip to Germany nine days earlier. It was also reported that Kyari had underlying medical conditions and was secretly flown out of the country. Claims that were vacated when it became official and public that he was moved from Abuja to Lagos due to medical conditions.
Born into a Kanuri family from Borno, the young Kyari had a quiet upbringing as not much is known about his early life. In 1980, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Warwick, and also received a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. In 1983, he was called to the Nigerian Bar after attending the Nigerian Law School.
The thirst for more education drove him to University of Cambridge where he obtained a master’s degree in law in 1984.
He later attended the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland and participated in the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School, in 1992 and 1994, respectively.
Upon his return to Nigeria, Kyari worked for the law firm Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo for some time.
He later became the Editor with the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna between 1988 and 1990.
In 1990, he served as a Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno State.
Kyari was also the secretary to the board of African International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
Kyari was an executive director in charge of management services at the United Bank for Africa, and was later appointed the chief executive officer.
In 2002, he was appointed a board director of Unilever Nigeria, and later served on the board of Exxon Mobil Nigeria.
He died in a Lagos hospital on 17 April 2020, after testing positive for COVID-19.
Mallam Abba Kyari was married to the sister-in-law of Ibrahim Tahir and the union was blessed with four children.