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Buhari: Presidency ‘displays’ president’s ‘softer side’ in London meeting
PublishedBy: in News/LocalApril 12, 2018

Presidency 'displays' Buhari's 'softer side' in London meeting

The president accidentally made a grandfather miss his grandson's graduation ceremony in London.

The presidency has once again praised President Muhammadi Buhari's 'softer side' during a meeting in London to prove that the president is not "only about iron and steel".

The president's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, took to his Facebook account on Thursday, April 12, 2018, to narrate how the president made up for mistakenly making a grandfather miss his grandson's graduation ceremony.

President Buhari played host to Nigeria's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, George Oguntade, on Wednesday, April 11, in his first meeting since he arrived in the UK.


According to the president's aide, Ambassador Oguntade was on his way to his grandson's graduation ceremony when he was summoned to meet with the president on Wednesday.

When the president was informed of what had happened, Adesina said he apologised to the professor and called his grandson, Mofoluwaso Oguntade, to personally speak to him and congratulate him on his Master's degree.

The president also signed the congratulatory card that the Ambassador had bought for Mofoluwaso to apologise and congratulate him again.

Adesina's full account read, "I got to President Muhammadu Buhari's lodgings in London on Wednesday morning at about noon. 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?"

The presidency has always been quick to jump to the president's defence against public criticism of his cold form of leadership. On December 24, 2017, while Nigerians laboured under the agonising crisis of fuel scarcity, the presidency aired a 55-minute documentary titled "The Human Side of President Buhari".

The documentary showed senior officials and political associates of the president speaking rather glowingly about his admirable qualities that they insisted the public was neglecting to see.

Buhari in London

The president left Abuja for the United Kingdom on Monday, April 9, 2018, a full week ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings scheduled to hold between April 18 to 20.

He left Nigeria just hours after he officially announced his intention to seek re-election in the 2019 presidential election during a meeting with the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday.

The president is expected to sit down with British Prime Minister, Theresa May, ahead of the meetings, to discuss Nigeria-British relations.

He'll also meet the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Plc, Ben van Beurden, in connection with the oil giant's plan to invest $15 billion in Nigeria's oil industry. He'll also meet with prominent British and Nigerians residing in the UK.

During Wednesday's meeting with Ambassador Oguntade, he also met with Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as well as Secretary General Worldwide of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon.

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