Softer Side of President Buhari on Display
I got to President Muhammadu Buhari’s lodgings in London on Wednesday morning. He was billed to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby shortly.
At the waiting room was Ambassador George Adesola Oguntade, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, now Nigeria’s High Commissioner in London. We greeted cordially.
Ambassador Oguntade is 78, but not looking a day older than 60. I told him so, and he promptly ascribed the glory to God.
As we chatted, he told me he had been on the way to Southampton for the graduation ceremony of his grandson, when he got a phone call that the President would like to see him.
“I was midway into the journey, but promptly turned back. My grandson, Mofoluwaso Oguntade, was taking a Master’s degree in Information Systems, and I had wanted to share the joy of the day with him.”
Mofoluwaso is the son of Foluso Oguntade, himself a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Talk of a family of lawyers and eggheads.
We were soon ushered in to see the President, and after genial greetings, Ambassador Oguntade told the story of his aborted trip.
“Oh dear!” President Buhari exclaimed. “The protocol people should have let you be, since I am still here for another week. My apologies. I will speak with the young man.”
Ambassador Oguntade reached for his phone, and called up his son, the senior advocate. The President congratulated him on the graduation, and also asked to speak with the young man.
Mofoluwaso Oguntade came on the line. The President expressed joy on his academic feat, and apologized that he inadvertently kept the grandfather away. From the smiles and laughters, you could see that the interlocutors were enjoying the conversation.
That done, the President asked for the congratulatory card that the Ambassador had bought. For some minutes he wrote on the card, then disclosed:
“I have congratulated him once again, and apologized for keeping his grandad away.”
Who says this President is only about iron and steel?
Femi Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity.