Friday 13th May 2016, we travelled to Abuja for a business meeting at the Office of the Vice President in Aso Villa. I, together with my partner Ibrahim Ubale Ajingi arrived from Kano promptly to honor our 3:00pm appointment.
Our corporate multi-media company that specialises in audio-visual programming and production, SoundWord & Sight Communications, publisher of designworldinternational.com, an online magazine has been invited to a meeting following a submission we made to be of service to the Nation, if God Wills.
When we arrived at the first gate, security officers in black suits stopped us for a check over. It was during that important process that we were told to open our car booth and I complied. But not before we were asked what was inside and I told them there were some banners among other none suspicious items.
One of the guys in black took out one of the banners and spread it for the others to see. Suddenly someone from amongst them, a few feet away said with some excitement "Kwandala Foundation! Are you guys still doing that humanitarian thing?"
I turned to look at him, surprised and he explained that he use to know about the NGO from the time he was in Kano. That when he was at one time based in Kano and so was aware of how Kwandala touched lives of the less privileged, until his transfer out of the ancient city.
I found that revelation really interesting. Kwandala's image and reputation seem to have gone ahead of it, way beyond our imagination. And that is not all, for another situation came up later where Kwandala Foundation got mentioned again, this time around inside The Villa.
After they were through with their official scrutiny, the security officer who mentioned Kwandala took the trouble to give us directions into the Presidential premises, but informed us that we would be required to do some more clearance at another gate before we would be allowed to proceed further.
We then drove through a second gate with many more security personnel and shortly we were at a 3rd gate. Here we were requested to park and get our Villa Visitor's tags by one hefty, stern and un-smiling black suited officer.
We did just that inside a clean, neat and comfortable building where our names were checked against those expected as visitors for that day and upon confirmation, instant black and white photo identification tags were produced and issued to us. And then we were allowed full access.
Soon we were directed to a parking lot where we parked and turned to behold before us a magnificent, but sublime white building set in a well landscaped, serene environment. It was Aso Villa itself, the No. 1 official, power building of Nigeria. Its awesomeness was captivating. Its beauty simplistic and its attraction, subliminally magnetic. As an architect, I should know.
We once again went through registering our presence and entry into the seat of power structure with, yes more black suited male security receptionists and further walked down another secured zone, into an atrium that skylights a fountained courtyard, before we were ushered into a waiting room. After waiting in turn for a short while, Mr. Kolawale Omole Special Adviser on Media to the Vice President came over, got introduced to us then we were called and attended to.
Soon we were done with our business meeting with the man we went there to see. Hey, now don't get excited please, for I didn't say His Excellency Mr. President himself nor did I say his Vice, Oga Prof. But someone really close to one of them on an official level Mr. Laolu Akande Senior Special Adviser, Media & Publicity. Sitting with him was another media giant Senator Babafemi Ojudu Special Adviser on Political Matters to President Muhammad Buhari.
But before we left, AbdulRahman Baffa Yola, our host at the Presidential Villa found it honoring to introduce us to Mr. Garba Shehu, Senior Special Adviser on Media & Publicity of our President. It was while he led the way to this man's office that we had our second Kwandala Foundation mention encounter.
A young man was coming up some steps from the direction of the President's Office and Baffa Yola stopped us in our track to introduce him as Bashir Ahmad, the Personal Adviser to the President on New Media i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp etc.
"Aha, Teejay meet Bashir Ahmad, the President's Personal Adviser on Social Media. Bashir, this is Arc. Tijjani Muhammad Musa and Ibrahim Ubale Ajingi" Baffa Yola introduced us gaily. Before he could finish, Bashir instantly recognised my name and smiling excitedly, he shook my hand warmly and vigorously.
"I know Tijjani Muhammad Musa very well. In fact, we are friends on Facebook and I know Kwandala Foundation!" the young internet presidential official said enthusiastically. With that mention of Kwandala, it was formally settled that he knows me beyond any iota of doubt.
Moments like this needed to be captured and that, we posed and did. Bashir gave us both his complimentary card and soon we moved on to Mr. Garba Shehu's office. A gentleman in all sense of the word. After being formally introduced, my colleague Ibrahim Ajingi informed the media guru that he was once his former lecturer at the Kano State Polytechnic.
Brief banters and pleasantries were exchanged and soon we left him to his tight and busy schedule. Basically, that was how much our little efforts at promoting the Foundation is proving to be effective. We are gradually getting national and international recognition, at least in the minds of many individuals.
We are clearly on a mission and soon we will get there. What can we say, but be thankful to Allaah for His Blessings upon us as a philanthropic organisation. And less we forget, this maiden Aso Rock Villa visit is not about this humanitarian entity, but about SWS.Comms. Yet, here is Kwandala taking its share of the Villa's amazing aura.
Anyway, not to worry. Soon it will have it's own turn, plus possibly that much sought after icing on the cake, the Presidential handshake. Till then, it and us will patiently wait.
KWANDALA FOUNDATION "Give a coin for life"
(c)2016 Tijjani M. M.
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