The politicians likely to be the next Chief of Staff to President Buhari have been identified, as the seat of power tries to get over the shocking demise of the former occupant of the office, Mallam Abba Kyari.
Kyari died on Friday night and was buried at Gudu Cemetery in Abuja on Saturday.
The search for Kyari’s replacement has to get underway as early as possible in view of the importance of the office to the smooth functioning of the Presidency.
Several power brokers are already showing interest in who gets the post.
Sources said that the emergence of the next Chief of Staff may depend largely on the advisory of the President’s nephew and confidant, Mallam Mamman Daura, who stuck out his neck for Kyari.
Those being tipped for the position include former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe; Education Minister Adamu Adamu (arguably the closest cabinet member to the President); Customs Comptroller-General, Hamid Ali; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; and a former Minister, Ismaila Isa Funtua.
Others are Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Duties, Ya’u Shehu Darazo; a former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Gen. Buba Marwa; and the immediate past Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr. Jalal Arabi.
Five of the nine candidates are considered part of the President’s kitchen cabinet, otherwise called “The Cabal.”
Although El-Rufai is not ranked as a member of the inner circle, he is always consulted when necessity demands.
In the case of Marwa he is seen as the choice of Mrs. Aisha Buhari for the office.
Some bigwigs prefer SGF Mustapha for endearing himself to all with his sterling performance, loyalty and maturity with which he is serving the Buhari administration.
Arabi’s 12 years’ experience as State House Counsel and later Permanent Secretary is considered a plus for him in the race.
Investigations revealed that members of the kitchen cabinet would want the slot for one of them for continuity, having been privy to the modus operandi of the late Kyari.
It was gathered that if the President bows to the demand of “The Cabal”, the search may be narrowed down to five persons: Kingibe, Adamu, Ali, Darazo and Funtua.
A reliable source said: “The choice of Kyari’s successor won’t be easy, especially because he made the office the locus of power. President Buhari is known to have relied on him so much that he is regarded as the pillar of the administration.
“It is expected that whoever succeeds him in official and unofficial capacities must have most of the qualities which made Buhari to strike a bond with Abba Kyari for 40 years.”