When on March 24, 2019 the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) announced that the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari tested positive for Corvid-19, I told myself that he was going to pull through.
I never imagined that few weeks later, this larger than life Nigerian who became a household name, for better or for worse, was going to succumb to his illness.
I am sure that Malam Abba Kyari was fully aware of his standing in the eyes of Nigerians, but I doubt if it ever worried him for as long as his boss, the President, was satisfied with his performance – a feat that earned him reappointment.
In islam, one is taught to say only good things about the dead. Abba Kyari had served the nation to the best of his ability. He is definitely a hero to so many and certainly a villain to some others. What matters most now is that he needs prayers from everyone as do all those who left us to meet their lord.
The one and only time that I met Malam Abba Kyari was when he was Editor of one of the rested Kaduna-based newspapers, The Democrat. It was either 1987 or 1988. I was a News Editor at NTA Yola and came to Kaduna for a seminar and decided to go and see him.
As soon as I was ushered in to his office and saw the face he was wearing, my heart sunk. “What can I do for you,” he inquired looking at me with a blank, slightly tight face. I managed a grin and told him that I am a broadcast journalist that want to make a switch to newspapers.
He said he was sorry that they did not have any opening. I left feeling disappointed. I later learned that I probably met him in a bad mood, which could be the reason for the tight face.
Yesterday was the turn of Abba Kyari. For the rest of us, the clock is ticking, if only we know. With or without Corvid-19, every living being has his or her appointed time for departure. However, the lesson here is that Corona Virus is real. If there are still Nigerians out there who are sceptical about the presence of Covid-19 in our country, now you know.
May Allah grant him Jannatul-Firdaus.