The National Chairman, All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole has recounted how late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari approached him in 2002 to support the candidacy of Muhammadu Buhari.
Oshiomhole, said he was then the National President, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, when Abba Kyari approached him.
The APC Chairman, in his condolence message on Monday said “I recall he was the one that first approached me in 2002 as the National President of Nigeria Labour Congress to sell Buhari’s candidacy to the labour movement. He invested his personal resources, energy and wide contacts in the business world in the project.
According to him, his relationship with Kyari did not start with APC emergence as the ruling party but earlier during his time as a labour leader.
He explained that way back in 1973, he and Kyari found themselves in opposing sides of the isle at Zamfara Textile in Kaduna, where he was the leader of the workers union while he represented the management as Administration Officer.
Oshiomhole recounted that in the many brushes the union had with the management, Kyari showed a true character as a conscientious man, a true Nigerian patriot, by never failing to side with workers on the core issues of human dignity and fairness.
He added: “Following our protest, he was the lone voice at the management meeting who spoke against the operation of two classes of canteen by the company.
“He was not afraid to state that having a uniform canteen for both management staff and junior workers was the only way to convince the junior workers that their meal was not inferior.”
The APC chairman said even though Kyari was supposed to be on the side of the “oppressor”, he persuaded the management to incur extra costs by issuing all factory workers two pairs of personal protective uniform and safety boots.
“The amazing thing was that, in pushing our case with management every time, Abba Kyari never sought to be seen or worshipped as a ‘hero’. For him, advocating for social justice was not a favour, but a duty,” he said.
Oshiomhole argued that Kyari was not only loyal to Buhari, he was also faithful to friends through thick and thin and that his sense of humour was phenomenal.
He recalled that whenever they met and he complained that the stress of running the office of National Chairman was such that he had little time to socialise with old friends like him, he would tease by saying, “If a young man like you is complaining of stress as ordinary National Chairman of a party, I wonder what you expect someone like President Buhari who is running the entire country at his age and with all he has been through since the 60s and is still making sacrifices today, to say.”