Posted by News Express | 24 April 2020 | 1,365 times
Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) in this interview speaks on the demise of Mallam Abba Kyari, former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari and jostle for his replacement. Excerpts:
What can you say about the late Mallam Abba Kyari, former Chief of Staff to President Muhamma¬du Buhari who died as a result of COVID-19 complications last week?
I didn’t know him very well but I always hear of his dedication to duty and his single-mindedness in pursuit of his duties. Since the very sad and tragic passing away of Mallam Abba Kyari, I have now come to know him more based on the comments and accounts of those who really knew him
If I may mention two, one by Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; it was very touchy and even more sur¬prisingly and more dramatic is that of the tribute by Femi Fani-Kayode, who normally is a very vigorous opponent of this government, yet he went on to give a very fantastic testimony of the man.
So, it has really opened my eyes to who the late Kyari was and it makes me really reflect whether Nigerians just like to jump to conclusion without knowing what they are talking about. There was so much bile and hatred against him when he was alive, which rather sadly has continued with regards to some people even after his death.
I have been asking myself whether it is worth it to serve Nigeria because of the gross ingratitude and foul mouth tendnency of Nigerians who don’t speak on facts but on assumptions, sentiments and what they don’t know about.
They condemned the man from A-Z. They told a lot of lies about the man while he was alive but as it turns out, he was a man of sterling qualities who had been serving this country with all he got, making sacrifices without looking back. He was just quiet because he wasn’t looking for praise from anybody. He only wanted his works and posterity to be his judge and his boss, President Buhari was proud of him.
Do you think his exit will have any significant impact on the country?
I think we have lost a very noble gentleman who was a major contributor to the devel¬opment of this country. I took time to read all that was said about him that he had very spe¬cial interest on infrastructure and that most of things that are being said about railways, roads and all the major projects that are going on today with the Chinese are projects he had in mind. Also, his last activity was to go to Germany and organise for a proper electricity service which I understand would have raised our kilowatts to well over a hundred. So, if you look at this from all point of view, even if you don’t know him before, won’t you eulogise him and show some sorrow that such a man with sterling qualities have passed away? Why will people begin to indulge in this very acrimonious and bitter assault on the memory of such a fine gentleman? Apart from being discouraging to those who want to serve this country, I also ask myself ‘These people who are saying evil about someone who just died, are they going to live forever?’ Won’t they pass away themselves? Honestly, the aftermath of the passing away of Abba Kyari has left a very sour taste in our mouth on whether it is worth it making sacrifices for ungrateful Nigerians.
There is already jostle for the late Kyari’s replacement. What qualities should the President consider in appointing a new Chief of Staff?
I think there should be two main qualities. One is somebody who is well educated and knowledgeable about world affairs and of the country. The person must also have integrity and highly principled. The other quality is that the would-be Chief of Staff must have the confidence of the President. They must have confidence and trust in each other. In other words , there must be a level of closeness between them.
Do you think the President should consider party affiliation in making this appointment or should it be strictly based on merit?
Party affiliation is very important. The person must be a member of his party. If he is not a member of his party, that person must be somebody who has sympathy for the party and definitely, someone who in terms of relationship is very close to the President. Party affiliation is very important in appointing someone into that very key and sensitive position.
Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN), a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice passed away on Tuesday. How will he be remembered?
He was a big institution in Nigeria’s political scene. He was the First Republic Minister of Education and then Second Republic Attorney- General and Minister of Justice.
He was a huge figure in our political history. For many years, he was the head of the Association of Senior Advocates of Nigeria. It is a big loss and we just pray that the family will take consolation in the fact that he left a good legacy behind as one of the giants of the legal profession. (Daily Independent)
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