I ended my widely shared April 18, 2020 social media post titled “Abba Kyari’s Death, End of a Surrogate Presidency, and the Coming Chaos” by pointing out that “in the coming days and months, expect the cessation of any pretense to governance and an unprecedentedly factious, dog-eat-dog, recriminatory fight between competing power blocs.”

At the time, a lot of people asked what I meant and why I thought that would happen. I didn’t respond because the answer was apparent from the write-up.

Read from the third paragraph: “With Kyari’s death, Nigeria is now truly leaderless. Buhari is practically in the land of the living dead. He’s a breathing mannequin whose only reason for living is to prove he isn’t dead in order to justify the continuity of the rule in his name.

“Abba Kyari ruled the country on Buhari’s behalf. In my viral February 22, 2020 column titled, ‘The Tragedy of the Abba Kyari Surrogate Presidency,’ this line appeared: ‘Sometime in the midpoint of last year, a northern retired general told me Abba Kyari said in private that people who vilify him don’t realize that without him Nigeria would be rudderless and descend into chaos.’

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“Now, he is gone, and the chaos he talked about would start in the coming days and weeks.”

Abba Kyari, in spite of the posthumous hagiographic portrayals of him as some genius, was actually a mediocre intellect, but he was the de facto president who brought everyone in government into line through intimidation and manipulation of the system.

People in Nigeria’s power circles knew that. Had he been alive, the unprecedented chaos that currently attends the Buhari regime would never have happened–or would have been artfully managed.

Ibrahim Gambari, as I’ve repeatedly said, is no replacement for Kyari. Mamman Daura, who should have taken Kyari’s place, is both too old and formally outside the orbit of governance (he has no portfolio other than being Buhari’s older nephew) to exert any influence.

For as long as Buhari is “president,” chaos in governance and fissiparity in the polity will endure. You had been warned many times.


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