Tracereporters –Three frontrunners have emerged in the race for a successor to Mallam Abba Kyari, erstwhile Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, who succumbed to Coronavirus on Friday and was buried yesterday in Abuja.
The three, according to informed sources, are Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, who was rumoured to have handed the position even while Abba Kyari was still on his sick bed; incumbent currently Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd); and former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd).
Kingibe, running mate to late MKO Abiola during the annulled 1993 presidential ballot, has been reportedly holding forte since Kyari was indisposed. “Prior to that time, he had been a massive power behind the throne. He is vast in security matters and very, very political savvy. The Kanuri power block in this administration is also very impressive. I tip him to get it,” one source said last night.
On Hameed Ali, the source said: “Maybe he is considered to be straightforward and a no-nonsense person. His military background also stands him in good stead. He is from North-West. I doubt if the powerful North-East bloc will give in, especially since Kyari was from there. They may put up a case that a replacement for him should also come from the North-East.”
As for Marwa, the source described him as “a very long shot”, explaining: “Although he is also from the North-East, the only strong thing going for him is that he is Hajia Aisha Buhari’s candidate. I’m not too sure Hajia is strong enough to pull it through, or that the cabal will allow her wield that much power. It would drastically change the whole power calculus in the country if Marwa gets the job. But I think he might be the best for the country and the redemption of the tattered image of PMB.”
Abba Kyari, who wielded enormous powers, was suddenly taken out of the picture after testing positive to Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
The late Chief of Staff was tested for the COVID-19 virus by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Monday, March 23. NCDC briefed the President on the outcome of the test on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, and it happened to be positive.
This came two weeks after Abba Kyari travelled to Germany to meet with officials of Siemens in Munich on Nigeria’s electricity expansion programme. He was said to have returned on March 14, although he did not show any symptoms of being infected with the virus.
The late Chief of Staff, aged 81, reportedly submitted himself voluntarily for testing and promptly went into isolation after testing positive. Three of his staff have also tested positive to Coronavirus.
Six days after testing positive for coronavirus, Abba Kyari spoke for the first time on his status. He disclosed this in a personal statement signed by him and made available to journalists that he was about to be transferred from Abuja to Lagos for further tests.
News of Abba Kyari’s death broke shortly after NCDC put the number of COVID-19 deaths in the country at 17 and the total number of infected persons at 493, while 177 had been treated and discharged. Worldwide, COVID-19 has killed over 149,000 persons while the number of confirmed case stands at over 2.2 million.
Please like and share