Femi Adesina, the former spokesman to former President Muhammadu Buhari, has revealed that the late Abba Kyari, who was the Chief of Staff (CoS) to his principal, fought him to death.
In his recently released book ‘Working with Buhari: reflections of a Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015-2023)’, Adesina said Kyari was uncomfortable with his direct relationship with Buhari.
He said the former CoS denied his office the necessary operational funds which had existed under previous administrations.
Adesina also said that Kyari did not allow his effort to employ media personnel to yield despite the approval from the president.
He wrote: “But somehow, me and him did not quite hit it off. He was a somewhat aloof person, and I tried to give him due respect and forge an amicable working relationship.
“He was not forthcoming, and I, too, had a tendency to be aloof unless there was warmth from the other party, so we just worked at a distance.
“A lot was said about him and his style and how it affected governance, but one thing you cannot deny Malam Abba (as he was usually called) was that he was fiercely loyal to the President.
“With me, anyone that loved Buhari, all his sins were forgiven. If they be as scarlet, they would be as white as snow. And if they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. God rest Malam Kyari’s soul, but there are three things he did that extended the fissure between us.
“In June 2015, I had done a memo to the President, recommending some people to be taken on as staff in the Media Department. They had gone through the campaign and struggles with us and pedestaled themselves as dyed-in-the-wool Buharists. They were from different parts of the country.
“I explained that much to Mr. President the day I took the memo to him. He thanked me and said he would pass it to the SGF when he appointed one so it would be on record. Fair enough.
“When a COS and SGF were appointed, the President directed the memo to the COS. Also in order. But Malam Kyari just sat on it for the next one year. He did not say anything on it.
“Eventually, my colleague, Garba Shehu, went to see him. And he confessed to Shehu that he shunned the memo because I had taken it directly to the President. But the June date on it was clear. He had not even been appointed then.
“The second had to do with funding of the Media Department. There was no budget line, and funds were usually provided by the office of the NSA as needs arose. I had consulted with two of my predecessors, Dr. Reuben
Abati and Ima Niboro, who had briefed me.
“Media and publicity is not cheap, not anywhere in the world, but it would amaze you that we operated for five years without a dime. After the NSA was appointed, I went to meet and brief him about how publicity was
usually funded from his office. It was a Friday, and he promised that anything that would make me and the man we had come to serve succeed, he would do.
“Exactly a week later, after the Jumat service, the NSA walked into my office with his two hands in the air. I asked what the matter was. He told me he had received a memo from the President, directing that nothing, absolutely nothing, must be funded from his office, except security. In the light of that, the promise he had made me was no longer tenable.
“I thanked him and said I would meet the President. And I did. That very night, in the house. I remember that it was only myself and General Dambazau who were waiting to see him. He is a senior friend, and I told him the purpose of my visit.
“He was quite surprised that over three months, media and publicity was not being funded yet.
“He asked how we were doing it, and I said myself and Shehu were using goodwill.
“When I met the President and told him of my encounter with the NSA, he confirmed that he gave the directive and explained why.”