Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Jim Ovia and Tony Elumelu during the regime's "dying days"
The event was organized for the President by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and The Corporate Council on Africa.
During his remarks, Buhari departed from his prepared text to tell the surprised crowd he was surprised to see Mr. Ovia, and that he thought the CBN Governor had brought him along. He also expressed surprise at the presence of Wale Tinubu, who happens to be a good friend of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress chieftain, Bola Tinubu.
The crowd, which mostly comprised of US businessmen, did not fully understand the heart of Buhari’s position which wasn’t part of his prepared speech for the evening.
SaharaReporters had exclusively reported earlier in the day that Buhari warned his aides not to smuggle Nigerian businessmen into his meetings throughout his US visit. SaharaReporters learnt that as a result of the warning, most of the businessmen and politicians who had streamed into the US capital in the hope of meeting with Buhari did not openly attend his events.
It was also learned that Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa, who was at the dinner yesterday, was only allowed to greet Buhari when it was over.
Elumelu and Ovia were formidable supporters of former President Goodluck Jonathan but since Buhari’s victory, these and many other businessmen have been looking for ways to warm themselves into the Buhari fold.