January 22, 2024

Buhari became fresher after 2017 illness – Bayo Omoboriowo

Buhari became fresher after 2017 illness – Bayo Omoboriowo

Former President Muhammadu Buhari

Bayo Omoboriowo, the official photographer of former President Muhammadu Buhari, said his former principal became fresher after recovering from his illness in 2017.

Omoboriowo stated this in an interview on Channels Television on Monday.

He also dispelled long-held rumours that Buhari became the “Jibrin of Sudan” after his long medical treatment in the United Kingdom.

He said there was no marked difference between when Buhari fell ill in 2017 and when he recovered “because as he progressed, he was getting better, he was getting fresher.”

Recall that Buhari fell ill and was flown to the UK sometimes early in May 2017. The former president returned later, in August 2017.

During his long medical trip abroad, there were rumours that he was dead and had been replaced with a lookalike named Jibrin from Sudan.

Omoboriowo said, “I would say it and I owe nobody any apology. To me, President Buhari is a man of grace.

“I still had this conversation with one elderly woman over the Christmas break. She carried me into her kitchen and asked, ‘Is he really Buhari?’ And I tried to explain to her. For instance, I’m his photographer, if he changed, I should be able to know.

“For me, it was more about telling the story of a man that when he went and when he came back, he was still the same to me. He lost weight and he gained weight.

“Our conversations were still the same. When he didn’t see me, he asked, ‘Where is Bayo?’ So, if he is not the same, how would he know what his photographer’s name is?” he queried.

Omoboriowo described the period of the ex-President’s ill health as “very challenging”.

“Those periods were periods when I needed to portray a man in fairness. That he was President shouldn’t take away the fact he is human and I needed to have that mindset because there is very little margin for error in this work.

“The way I presented him has to be fair yet accurate, has to be creative yet professional. That was the balance and it was very emotional for me at that period because someone with so much agility, all of a sudden;

“… I have to be sure he is dressing right because he had lost so much weight at that time. It was a whole lot and it was quite emotional but we were able to document that process.”

Speaking on his time as the President’s official photographer, Omoboriowo said Buhari was someone that “trusted you and believed you know what you are doing.”

According to him, Buhari cared less about his photos, but he has the posture for great photographs.

He said, “For eight years, President Buhari never asked me to show him the images I created.

“If he has chosen you, he believed you have the capacity to deliver on that role… And that was one thing very unique about him; he gives you the role and allows you to express yourself.”

Omoboriowo said his job afforded him the opportunity of access to the President and other heads of states, saying, “Sometimes, I am the only one in the room with the president at international gatherings with heads of states.”