THE sad demise and burial of Mallam Abba Kyari, the late Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, after contracting the Coronavirus has exposed the typical irresponsible attitude of high government officials. This sort of misbehaviour has made it difficult for governance to produce fruitful results in Nigeria.
It has demonstrated in the full glare of the public that those who govern us hardly practise what they preach. They tell us to tighten our belts, yet they live in great opulence at great public cost. They exhort the people to “look inwards” but they flaunt expensive public brands, educate their children in foreign institutions and fly abroad for medical treatment. Analysts believe that, perhaps if the right things were done, Abba Kyari would still be with us. They ask: why did he travel to COVID-19 hotspots in Europe? Why did he not self-isolate when he returned? Failure to do that got many high officials from far and near infected. Why did he opt for a private clinic in Lagos instead of getting care at the NCDC’s isolation centre in Abuja owned by the Federal Government in which he wielded so much power? If not for travel restrictions he would have been flown abroad. This recklessness continued during Kyari’s burial at the Gudu Cemetery, Abuja. State House officials, including Boss Mustapha who Buhari appointed head of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, joined others to crowd around Kyari’s remains, thus violating the social distancing that he had been preaching to Nigerians for over a month.