Aisha Kyari: Why my father never defended himself against critics

Aisha, daughter of the late Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, says her father chose to ignore critics during his lifetime to avoid distraction in discharging his service to his principal and the country.

The eldest daughter of the late Kyari stated this in a tribute published in ThisDay, titled ‘My Daddy, My Best Friend’.

Aisha also claimed her father was “terribly misunderstood” and “mischievously misrepresented” by a segment of Nigerians who are hell-bent on smearing his reputation despite his contributions to humanity.

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She added that Kyari’s passion was to chart a new course forward for the country, particularly as regards modernizing its infrastructure and growing its agricultural sector.

Her words: “My dad was terribly misunderstood and arguably mischievously misrepresented. Even his age was never gotten right from the day he became Chief of staff till the day he died. My dad died at the age of 67. He was often mistaken for the late Brigadier Abba Kyari who was indeed in his 80’s.

“At this time of mourning, I should be holding things together for my family as I know my dad would expect me to, but I have instead found myself having to defend his memory against vile and malicious comments that have left me questioning the very humanity that should unite us all in difficult times.

“For clarity, my dad was more than capable of defending himself. The reason he didn’t is that it would have distracted him from his primary assignment of serving his principal and by extension, his country. His passion was to help his principal modernise Nigeria’s infrastructure and grow the agricultural sector.

“In his office, hanging on the wall, are large framed renderings of the Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano and Lagos-Ibadan Expressways; after decades of these projects being under development, he wanted to have them finally completed. With the President’s backing, he successfully fought to revive and build 34 existing and new fertiliser blending plants all across Nigeria – except in the northeast, where he was from, due to concerns of urea (a component of fertiliser) being supplied to terrorists to be used as bombs.”

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She also revealed her father never drove a car until his death.

“This may sound odd but my beloved daddy couldn’t drive a car! He never learnt how to drive for a day in his entire life,” she said.

Her tribute comes days after she also took a swipe at her father’s critics. Kyari had died on April 17, after suffering complications from COVID-19, the virus he contracted while on official trip abroad. 

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