Too much elite talk about the office of the chief of staff. Too much of the embarrassing ignorance, deep elite apathy and divisive arguments about an issue that has long been settled.
Without prejudice to both side of the divide, the question we might have to ask ourselves are we really against the office of the chief of staff or some people just don’t like Abba Kyari in that office? Let the truth be told.
The arguments regarding the relevance or not of the office of the chief of staff must, therefore, begin from the standpoint that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was fashioned according to the American Model as a result of which we borrowed most of the structures embedded in the American style of governance.
The arguments the office is not the creation of the Constitution is weak and may not affect the directives the Ministers should pass their request for engagement with the President through the chief of staff.
We have witnessed attempts by the previous government to do away with the office, but it keeps resurfacing with different nomenclature because of its strategic importance. Be it what it may whether you use the term chief of staff or Principal Private Secretary the schedule still remains the same. After all the term Principal Private Secretary was also borrowed from the British model when the country was operating the Parliamentary system of government.
Regardless of what nomenclature is used the relevance of the office is therefore not contestable. There must be order in the conduct of government affairs.
If the office of the chief of is not created by the Constitution at least the office of the President was and he needs someone to coordinate the activities of his office
The overriding argument in this debate, the President under the Nigerian Constitution has executive powers which means all persons under the executive branch functions courtesy the delegated powers of the President.
The power to hire and dismiss exclusively rests with the President, to argue otherwise simply means playing to the conspiracy theorists wish, a card which is being advanced by those who do not want Abba Kyari in that office.
It is discernible from the ensuing debate that the fifth columnist has a bone to pick with Abba. Among them are those who felt Abba did not contribute in the emergence of Buhari as Presidential candidate of the APC and has not worked for his election, they are, therefore, not comfortable with the relationship that exists, between the President and Abba. To them, every altercation that occurs in the process of governance is contorted by Abba the evil genius he must, therefore, be removed
The Ministers, are also not happy passing their issues through Abba in order to engage with the President. They hold the view they are senior to Abba since their appointments are based on the constitutional requirement as members of the Federal Executive Council, while the chief of staff, whose appointment is not backed any Constitutional provision.
There are also some of the Ministers who consider themselves as super Ministers because of the role they played in the election of the President they find going through the office of the chief of staff belittling to their status.
The third group are the real politicians who hitherto had unfettered access to the President, but now have limited contact with the President due State protocol. To them, Abba is the stumbling block, he must, therefore, be removed at all cost.
These are the real issues giving rise to the plethora of media write up for and against the existence of the office of the chief of staff and the purported crimes the fifth columnists are trying to hang on the neck of Abba so that he can be removed.
In all these arguments none has suggested that Abba is not competent to hold the office of the chief of staff. They all know he has an excellent resume’ A product of University of Cambridge, University of Warwick, Nigerian Law School, International Institute for Management at Lausanne, Switzerland and Harvard Business School. From 1988 to 1990.
He was Editor with the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna. In 1990 he served as Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno State. From 1990 to 1995, Kyari was Secretary to the Board of African International Bank Limited. Abba Kyari was Executive Director, Management Services, United Bank for Africa Plc. (UBA) and was later appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Bank. He was appointed a Director of Unilever Nigeria Plc. In 2002 served as a Director of Exxon Mobil Nigeria.
In addition to his appointment as Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari was appointed to the board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation by President Muhammad Buhari on July 4, 2016.
With this exquisite credentials, the only kite the fifth columnist can fly is the phantom corruption allegations intended to spoil his name so that the President could act. Now that they have failed and the President has spoken can they allow the gentleman to do his job?