LAGOS—The Nigerian presidents chief of staff died on Friday from COVID-19, the presidency said on Saturday, making him the most high profile person in the country to die in the outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
Abba Kyari had acted as the gatekeeper to 77-year-old President Muhammadu Buhari. After his re-election last year, Buhari ordered ministers to channel all communications through him.
Kyari had underlying health problems including diabetes. Reuters reported on March 24 that he had contracted the disease.
“Mallam Abba Kyari, who died on 17th April, 2020, at the age of 67 from complications caused by the coronavirus, was a true Nigerian patriot,” said Buhari in a tweet, using an honorific title for Kyari.
He referred to Kyari as his “loyal friend and compatriot for the last 42 years” who, as chief of staff, “strove quietly and without any interest in publicity or personal gain” to implement the presidents agenda.
Kyari traveled to Germany in early March with a delegation of other Nigerian officials for meetings with Siemens AG. He attended meetings with senior government officials upon his return to Nigeria before he was diagnosed as having contracted the CCP virus.
Nigeria has 493 confirmed cases and 17 deaths attributed to the disease, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.
Buhari, whose public pronouncements are rare, himself has undisclosed medical ailments and spent five months in London for treatments in 2017.
Kyaris death might leave a potential opening for a rethink of policy at the heart of government.
Analysts said the governments statist approach since Buhari took office in 2015 was in large part influenced by his chief of staff, a former executive at the United Bank for Africa Plc.
Antony Goldman, head of Nigeria-focused PM Consulting, said Kyari was “the central figure in driving forward” government policies on agricultural reform, investment in infrastructure and power.
“Kyari was very close to Buhari and arguably the most powerful man within the adminisRead More – Source