The late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, was opposed to corrupt elements and worked for the good of Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday.
The president, who said this in a tribute written in honour of Kyari, said the late Kyari was in his 20s when they first met.
He also revealed they were friends for 42 years.
Kyari, who died from coronavirus complications on Friday, was 67 years at the time of his death.
President Buhari wrote: “In political life, Abba never sought elective office for himself. Rather, he set himself against the view and conduct of two generations of Nigeria’s political establishment – who saw corruption as an entitlement and its practice a by-product of possessing political office.
“Mallam Abba Kyari, who died on April 17, 2020, at the age of 67 from complications caused by the coronavirus, was a true Nigerian patriot. My loyal friend and compatriot for the last 42 years – and latterly my Chief-of-Staff – he never wavered in his commitment to the betterment of every one of us.
“He was only in his twenties when we first met. A diligent student, soon after he was blessed with the opportunity to study abroad – first at Warwick and then law at the University of Cambridge. But there was never any question Abba would bring his first-rate skills and newly acquired world-class knowledge back to Nigeria – which he did – immediately upon graduation.”
According to him, Kyari ensured that all governors and ministers were given equal access to him, adding that for his late aide, there was no favouritism.
He added: “Working, without fail, seven days each and every week, he acted forcefully as a crucial gatekeeper to the presidency, ensuring no one – whether minister or governor had access beyond another – and that all those representing and serving our country were treated equally.
“He made clear in his person and his practice, always, that every Nigerian – regardless of faith, family, fortune or frailty – was heard and treated respectfully and the same.”