Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Abba Kyari: Tribute to a patriot, by Mohammed Sani Musa

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Surely, Allah takes what is His, and what He gives is His, and to all things, He has appointed a time… so have patience and be rewarded. – Al-Bukhari 2/80, Muslim 2/636.

Good people die every day. Yet not all of them affirm for us the goodness in humanity, patriotism and loyalty in them the way Mallam Abba Kyari did. He passed away yesterday Friday 17/04/2020 and left a legacy of positive experiences for anyone who took the time to know him – which wasn’t a hard thing to do. Most likely you don’t know Abba Kyari but you can learn from the legacy he left.

Abba Kyari was a professional lawyer, banker, academician, politician and technocrat per excellence. Contrary to popular opinion, as Chief of Staff to the President his career wasn’t one he chose because it paid big remuneration or bucks, but out of loyalty and service to his fatherland, knowing that these jobs don’t pay what the private sector does to him. Rather, he had a passion for serving the public.

Likewise, he didn’t take this path because it was easy. If that were true, Abba Kyari wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with it. His passion and hard work led him to become what he was – a great leader, with the ability to navigate law, academics, politics, banking and public service which culminated in him to lead Mr President’s hardworking aides, and yet take tons of public criticism with finesse and grace.

Abba Kyari loved his country and people and was willing to do the hard work it takes to build all kinds of policies. Because he worked on the taxpayer’s dime, not everyone was satisfied. Yet Kyari made friends from enemies. I knew and met him barely two years ago. What I saw in him was his humility which was the real power he had in the relationships he cultivated.

Being humble helped him to be known as someone who acted out ethically even while others in similar positions did not.

Many that crossed him with demands that are contrary to his conviction as regards national interest see him as a retrogressive person, just because they couldn’t hold their egocentric and selfish ways and needs.

And of course, he was human. Abba Kyari made his share of mistakes. The difference between him and other leaders is that he pondered those mistakes and quietly learned from them. They weren’t made a second time, as he grew and developed the skills because he had a learning mindset.

I think Mallam Abba’s critics might be more than a little surprised to see that not only did his passion for leadership drive the seat of government where he lived and drives it better than he found it, he is an embodiment of selfless devotion to service and a mantra of “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Mallam Abba Kyari not only made positive changes in the running of the affairs of governance in the country of he was a part, but he also cared about the interest of the downtrodden in all his policy submissions. He believed that positive change and caring about people were intricately linked.

He was a core professional with self-confidence needed to discharging the most difficult and what seems controversial work of public service at the utmost level. He developed those that worked with him, because he knew they would be better leaders as a result of what they learned.

Hackneyed stereotypes by a few and many that never crossed him are used over and over again on his person. This is unfortunate as most of the cries and accusations are unsubstantiated. The role Mallam Abba played as the engine room of the seat of government under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has potentially delivered a great performance. He will greatly be missed, as he left us too soon.

Recognizing the fact that he was a great leader and a technocrat par excellence, we can also see that he was a good compatriot who cared about others and his country. We can all learn a lot about leadership and humanity by following Mallam Abba’s successful lifetime examples of complete loyalty to his principal.

May Allah blessed his good deeds and forgive his shortcomings. May Aljannat Fiddausi be his permanent and final abode. Surely, Allah alone grants patience in every misfortune and compensation for anything lost and substitute for anything destroyed. Return to Allah alone and flee towards Him only in times of difficulty His gaze is set on you (and He does not forsake you).

May Allah s.w.t. grant President Muhammadu Buhari, his family sabr (sabar) in this difficult time, and reward him and them with Khair both in this world and the next. Ameen.

Mr Musa is the Senator representing Niger East.

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