Politics

Abba Kyari almost became Obasanjo’s Vice-President, Mamman Daura reveals

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A nephew and confidant of the President, Mamman Daura, has revealed that during the run – up to the 1999
Presidential election , Abba Kyari was among those considered for the position of running mate to Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo who was the Presidential candidate
of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Daura said this in a tribute to Kyari, the late chief of staff to the President , Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari
(retd.).

He wrote, “These times coincided with the country’s return to democracy and Malam Abba was among those enthusiastically espousing the cause of General Obasanjo. On his selection as PDP candidate, a group of
women and youths in the PDP lobbied Obasanjo to pick Malam Abba as his Vice Presidential running mate. After heated debates, Obasanjo eventually picked Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.”

Daura said he first met the late Kyari in the mid 1970s when he (Daura ) was the editor of the now defunct New Nigerian Newspaper.

He recalled that Kyari had read an article in the newspaper and then applied to work at the company.

Daura recalled, “ I first set eyes on Malam Abba about 47 years ago. I was at my desk at the New Nigerian newspapers office scribbling something or other when
the gate messenger brought a sheet of paper with a name ‘Abba Kyari Chima’ wanting to see the editor.

When he came in he looked winsome and slightly diffident. After pleasantries, I wanted to know his reason for coming to New Nigerian. He said he read and liked an editorial in the paper a few days earlier headed: ‘Solution looking for a Problem’ and he resolved to work with us.

“After swift enquiry, I was told there were no vacancies in the newsroom or in sub -editing. But a lowly position existed as proof reader as someone had
just left. I was about to apologise to him that what was available was beneath his station. Malam Abba quickly said: ‘I will take it. ’After formalities, he was enrolled as a staffer of New Nigerian.”

Daura said Kyari was a diligent and principled worker despite the little salary he was paid .

The President’s nephew said within weeks, Kyari had been moved to the newsroom and their relationship became stronger.

He narrated how he and Kyari left the newspaper
almost at the same time , adding that Kyari soon left the country to pursue his dream.

Daura added, “After New Nigerian, Malam Abba
worked at NNDC and Zamfara Textiles – a state – sponsored investment company and a private manufacturing outfit – valuable experience in later life
– and soon grew out of those jobs .

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