Going through the tribute to late Mallam Abba Kyari, former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari by the minister of foreign affairs, Mr.Geoffrey Onyeama, with the caption, ”Tribute to Abba Kyari: The Best Man”, my heart went gloomy again.
From the analogy therein, there was a tale of two brothers from two opposing tribes; it was a story of two gentlemen from two major rival religions; a story of two traditionally and customary unalike fellows but strongly knitted and bound together by strong ideology and love for each other.
The two top personalities had first met in 1977 at Warwick University in England, where they had sojourned in search of quality education. From that standpoint, they ditched tribalism and religious dichotomy and became friends. And then, became brothers. To the effect that their brotherhood even crossed lines considered red zones by the champions of Separation.
”When I got married in Owo to my wife from Idoani, Ondo State, Abba was my Best-Man. The officiating Vicar was somewhat perplexed because I was a Roman Catholic Igbo, marrying an Anglican Yoruba in an Anglican church with a Muslim Kanuri/Shuwa Arab Best-Man from Borno State!
”The officiating Catholic priest in Geneva, Switzerland, two years later, during the baptism of our first son, was equally perplexed when a muslim Abba Kyari and a muslim Muni Attah-Sonibare were the Godfather and Godmother respectively!’
”When I left Warwick University for Cambridge, Abba came to Cambridge to introduce me to his friends there as he had studied in the city for his Advanced levels. After graduating from Warwick University, Abba went up to Cambridge to study law. We kept in touch throughout the last 43 years. We ended up together in Lagos in 1982 to attend Law School for a year. When I left Nigeria in 1985 to work in Geneva for 30 years Abba came to Geneva often to stay with me and whenever I was in Nigeria, he made it a point coming to see me wherever I was,” Geoffrey Onyeama wrote in his tribute to Kyari
Who then says Nigerians cannot coexist, irrespective of its religious differences, ethnic colorations and yet, achieve greater things together? The above story was possible because of the refinement and quality of thinking of the two friends cum leaders.
This must serve as a lesson to Nigerians.
However, Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s Minister of foreign affairs whose detribalized personality, has since his assumption of office become a mystical revelation from the South Eastern Region of the Country is gradually rewriting the Nigerian story of oneness.
Unlike many who are more interested in the game of politics of division and preaching of hatred among regions and religions, Kwusike who is in a world of his own as a tested and trusted technocrat, has carved a niche for himself, the South East and Nigerian Nation as new face of Nigeria.
This is clearly evident in the manner the minister has fittingly and diplomatically handled the many global challenges affecting Nigerians abroad irrespective of their creed and geography, ranging from the defunct gale of deportation of Nigerians, xenophobia in South Africa, the upsurge in the Yahoo-Yahoo grip of most young Nigerians and many others.
Since mounting the international stage as the face of Nigeria globally, Kwusike has redefined and resuscitated the faith and confidence of countries across the world in Nigeria and Nigerians, thereby giving our Nationals plying their genuine and responsible businesses abroad a vista of hope and glimmer of smile they have equal rights with the rest of the world.
This has resulted in Nigeria entering into diplomatic relations with viable economic and politically powerful Nations of the world, with Nigeria being the greatest beneficiary of such ties.
Variously educated at Columbia University, New York in 1977; At St. John’s college, Cambridge in 1980 and London School of Economics and political science in 1982 as political scientist and Lawyer, Kwusike’s brilliance, intelligence, eloquence, diplomacy, candor, zeal and zest, have proven beyond reasons and conviction that a new Nigeria is ever and always possible.
Born to the family of Nigerian jurist Charles Onyeama, Geoffrey’s grooming in leadership started early in life when after his graduation he worked as research Officer in the Nigerian Law Reform Commission Lagos from 1983 to 1984. He then worked as a lawyer with Mogboh and Associates in Enugu , Nigeria from 1984 to 1985. In 1985, he joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as an Assistant Programme Officer for Development Cooperation and External Relations, Bureau for Africa and Western Asia. He rose through the ranks at the WIPO to become Deputy Director General for the Development Sector in 2009.
Let us therefore, learn from this epistle that we can coexist in love, trust and confidence, and together, achieve greater things.