By, Dr. Charles Omole
When it comes to political leadership, we need to learn a powerful thesis as Africans. In the West, most players fight to be in the Inner Circle of the Leaders. Either as Chief of Staff, Advisers or Ministers.
ABBA KYARI & LESSONS IN POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IN NIGERIA
When it comes to political leadership, we need to learn a powerful thesis as Africans. In the West, most players fight to be in the Inner Circle of the Leaders. Either as Chief of Staff, Advisers or Ministers. pic.twitter.com/q148q6cLMd
— Dr Charles Omole (@DrCOmole) September 6, 2019
They know that this positions give them influence on the leader without the exposure and pain of political campaign. More importantly; they also know that once elected, a Leader becomes a hostage to his/her immediate team. They form the burble that shapes Leadership perception and influence. Some of d most influential people in Western politics are not elected, but appointed. In d UK right now, d most influential guy is not elected; but more surprisingly, he is also NOT a member of the ruling party either; yet the PM eats from his plate, literally.
But in Nigeria and most of Africa; folks always think being elected as the political leader is the most important role. Hence the do or die approach to political office elections. But the Lesson Abba Kyari is teaching Nigerians is similar to the Western scenario explained before.
He is d most powerful person in the Presidency of Nigeria today. More powerful than d VP. And PMB trusts him absolutely. This was not always the case. After d 2011 elections; Kyari challenged a friend of mine who supported PMB why he was supporting a “chronic loser like Buhari”.
So he has not been a close associate of PMB for long. But a man that PMB trusts more than his own wife is Daura. Daura and Kyari were in the same Bank. Daura was Chairman and Kyari was MD. So it was Daura that introduced Kyari to PMB as someone he could trust and Mr President simply projected the trust he has for Daura unto Kyari & appointed him as Chief of Staff (CoS). Kyari saw this as an opportunity of a lifetime. The CoS has therefore proven he is trustworthy to PMB, most especially during the weeks of ill health in the first term.
So much so that in several policy areas; his wishes are govt policies. Although it is not a secret that Kyari & Mrs Buhari do not get on at all; she is powerless to shake him off her husband. That is how powerful d CoS has become. He is d defacto Pres as well as Petroleum Min.
But when you meet him, he is so humble and respectful you will underestimate him at your peril. He blends in easily into the background, yet so powerful. Kyari as perfected the art of being invisible yet powerfully impactful.
He is a brilliant chap & a lawyer who graduated from Cambridge university, but you will never know given his non-flamboyant nature. There are very few pictures of PMB in public fora without Kyari in it. He does not grant interviews. He plays the game well.
He understands that in power politics, outshining the master is perhaps the worst mistake of all. Hence his banal and casual posture while refusing to allow the power to get into his head. Master tactician indeed. But he is forever in the background of everything happening.
Unelected individuals having such power is not new in Western politics. But it is to many Nigerians. It should however be an eye opener. U do not have to contest elections to influence d running of Govts if u are well placed in d proximity of power & u understand d Laws of Power.
So for those new breed that want CHANGE in Nigeria; don’t all think you have to contest elections to influence happenings. Yes, that is one way of doing it; but a cheaper and less ruinous way is to stay in the arena of power. Who knows; you may become the next Abba Kyari.
There are many “Kyaris” in many of our states in Nigeria. I know governors that cannot even lift a pen without the guidance of their close associates. They are in office, but not in power. They have been captured by the team they surrounded themselves with.
So wise up folks; be rightly positioned. Be discreet and circumspect. There are many Kyaris reading this thread. In the quest to change Nigeria; we must use all the tools in the arsenal. A key one is staying close to power without being the face of it.
Kyari also teaches that you don’t have to have been a long-term fan or friend of your Principal. Just being in the right place and knowing the right people can position you in the power house. That is why you must avoid burning bridges & abusing people recklessly the way some do.
The new generation politicians also need to understand that when asking for help, it is better to appeal to people’s self-interest, but never draw on their mercy or gratitude. The intrigues of power is not for the intemperate but the strategic. A word is enough for the wise.
In the 90s, Kyari was Secretary to the Board of BCCI’s Nigerian affiliate, African International Bank. And Daura was Member of the Board. That sealed their very close working relationship. (So not MD & Chair as noted b4). Point is they knew & trust each other b4 PMB won election.