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Biography of Late Abba Kyari OON


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Biography of : A Political Journey


Abba Kyari OON, a Kanuri man hailing from Borno, left an indelible mark on Nigerian politics, notably serving as the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari from August 27, 2015, until his passing on April 17, 2020.

His academic journey began with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Warwick in 1980, followed by a Bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. His legal journey culminated with a call to the Nigerian Bar in 1983 after completing studies at the Nigerian Law School.

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In 1984, Kyari furthered his legal education with a master’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. He expanded his knowledge by attending the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1992 and the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School in 1994.

Kyari commenced his professional career at the law firm of Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo. In 1988, he transitioned to become the Editor of the New Africa Holdings Limited in Kaduna.


In 1990, he took on the role of Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno State. Between 1990 and 1995, he served as the secretary to the board of African International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Bank of Credit and Commerce International. His banking career flourished as he became the executive director (management services) at the United Bank for Africa and later ascended to the position of chief executive officer.

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Kyari’s influence extended to corporate boards, including appointments as a director of Unilever Nigeria in 2002 and participation on the board of Exxon Mobil Nigeria.

In August 2015, he assumed the pivotal position of Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, wielding significant influence behind the scenes. His role evolved, and between 2017 and 2019, he appeared to function as a coordinating head within the President’s inner circle.

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Controversies arose, notably when he acted as an intermediary between the National Assembly and the President during the latter’s medical absence. Additionally, his involvement in the handling of bills and his influence over matters of national security sparked public concerns.

In 2020, Kyari’s engagement in negotiations for national infrastructure development, particularly in the power sector, further showcased his multifaceted role.

Tragically, his national service was cut short when he tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2020, ultimately succumbing to the illness on April 17, 2020, in a Lagos hospital.

Abba Kyari, survived by his wife and four children, left behind a legacy that mirrored both the complexities and impact of his political journey. May his soul rest in peace.

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