Abba Kyari

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Abba Kyari
Governor of North-Central State, Nigeria
In office
28 May 1967 – July 1974
Preceded byHassan Katsina
(Northern Region)
Succeeded byUsman Jibrin
Personal details
Dewa, Nigeria
Died25 November 2018 (aged 80)
Alma materRegular Officers Special Training School
Mons Officer Cadet School
Military service
Service/branchNigerian Army

Abba Kyari (1938 – 25 November 2018) was a Nigerian Army Brigadier who served as Governor of the now defunct North-Central State, Nigeria after it was formed from the Northern Region during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon.[1] As an army officer Kyari had survived a mutiny by a battalion under his command in the aftermath of the July 1966 Nigerian counter-coup. He subsequently rose to command the Nigerian Army's 1 Brigade and then the army's artillery branch. In July 1967 he was appointed governor of North-Central State under the military government of Yakubu Gowon. He held the position for seven years and implemented a masterplan for the development of the city of Kaduna. He cautiously welcomed the return to civilian rule. Kyari later led the northern delegation of the 1994 National Constitutional Conference and chaired its National Defence Committee. After his retirement he was a director or chairman of several businesses.


Abba Kyari was born in 1938. He attended Borno Middle School and Barewa College, Zaria. In 1959 he enlisted in the Nigerian Army as an officer cadet. He attended the 12th Regular Officers’ Training School, Teshie, Accra, Ghana from March 1959 to September 1959. Kyari also attended the British Army's Mons Officer Cadet School, Aldershot from October 1959 to March 1960. He served as a platoon commander and later as transport officer in the Nigerian Army's 1 Brigdae Transport Company.[2] By July he was a major in the artillery branch.[3]

Major Kyari was given command of the Nigerian Army's 5th Battalion in September 1966 following the January coup and July counter-coup, which was based in the northern provinces of the country. On 1 October 1966 the men of the battalion, the soldiers primarily being from the north, mutinied whilst on parade and being addressed by Kyari. Kyari's secon-in-command Captain Auna, and the regimental sergeant major were murdered despite being themselves from the northern provinces (as was Kyari). Kyari and the surviving officers were forced to flee the base at Kano.[4] Kyari later became commander of 1 Brigade at Kaduna and was subsequently second-in-command and then commander of the Nigerian Army's artillery.[2]

Gowon administration[edit]

During the outbreak of violence against the Igbo people in Northern and Central Nigeria in 1966, Abba Kyari assisted Igbo soldiers in escaping from Kaduna, including Major Samuel Ogbemudia, who later was appointed Governor of Mid-West State in September 1967 following the state's liberation from secessionist Biafran forces.[5] General Yakubu Gowon appointed Colonel Kyari Governor of North-Central State in July 1967 and he remained in this role until July 1974.[6] As governor, he commissioned a master plan for the Kaduna metropolis, but in practice the plan was not followed by his successors.[7] He was not tolerant of the free press. For example, in April 1975 he strongly attacked the New Nigerian for publishing a picture of officers attending a conference that mainly showed junior officers. Towards the end of Gowon's administration, Kyari was a cautious advocate of return to civilian rule.[8]

Later career[edit]

Kyari led the Northern delegates to the 1994 National Constitutional Conference, and was appointed Chairman of the National Defence Committee of the conference. After retiring, he was appointed to the board of directors of First Bank of Nigeria, Standard Alliance Insurance and the Merchant Bank of Commerce. He became Chairman of Gamah Flour Mills and of Alif Engineering and Construction.[2]

Kyari's son is senator and chairman of the Nigerian Senate's Committee on Defence, Abubakar Kyari.[9] Kyari died on 25 November 2018 at the age of 80.[10] He was buried in Maiduguri on 26 November 2018.[11]


  1. ^ "Nigerian States". WorldStatesmen. Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Bosoma Sheriff. "Brigadier Abba Kyari (rtd)". Kanuri Studies Association. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  3. ^ Siollun, Max (2009). Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976). Algora Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 9780875867090. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  4. ^ Siollun, Max (2009). Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976). Algora Publishing. p. 134. ISBN 9780875867090. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  5. ^ Nowa Omoigui. "Operation Aure (3)". Gamji. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  6. ^ Max Siollun (2009). Oil, politics and violence: Nigeria's military coup culture (1966-1976). Algora Publishing. p. 137, 186. ISBN 0-87586-708-1.
  7. ^ Sam Adzegeh, Kaduna (23 November 2008). "Kaduna: A Tale of an Abused City". Newswatch. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  8. ^ S. K. Panter-Brick, Simone K. Panter-Brick (1978). Soldiers and oil: the political transformation of Nigeria. Routledge. p. 65. ISBN 0-7146-3098-5.
  9. ^ "Saraki, El-Rufai mourn Kyari". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  10. ^ Haruna, Abdulkareem (26 November 2018). "Nigeria: Abba Kyari, Former Governor of North Central State, Dies At 80". Premium Times (Abuja). Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Former Governor, Abba Kyari confirmed Dead". Plus TV Africa. 27 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.