Try out this quiz: If President Buhari had, on his Lagos trip, bumped into Oprah Winfrey or Whoopi Goldberg, would it have led to the sensation his meeting with Naomi Campbell created?
If you are going with a definite and annoyed “No”, then the mass of social media criticisms of the meet are malicious, slanderous, misogynist and very sexist. This would flow from the feeling that patriarchal moral sentiments were at play in the minds of those assessing the propriety of Ms Campbell’s frequently unclad physique next to ‘a whole’ Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari. “No” means it should not matter what she does or does not do; her fame and hard-earned success make her worthy of presidential association. Besides, she has Nelson Mandela as an “honorary grandfather” and often hugged him tightly.
All right then. In a few years, let’s see who bumps into Stormy Daniels, the actress who has worked hard to build a career also based on frequent unclad appearances, and more. Her revelations on Donald Trump, including smacking him once, has turned her into something of an icon on one side of the Atlantic. You wouldn’t put it past her becoming a goodwill ambassador of something soon, taking every opportunity to claim pride in the career that has brought her thus far.
Back to Nigeria.
Ms Campbell’s original tweet from after the meet was definitely of one who was name-dropping and showing her levels. She was “invited” to a “private launch” with the president of the most populous black nation in the world. Being in a relationship with the British-Nigerian rapper Skepta, it was a thing to brag about, like one would show-off an emperor father-in-law. A strenuous denial by the Presidency that she was invited led to a revision of her tweet to emphasize that she was in fact in the country for Arise Fashion Week.
Was a pleasure to meet His Excellency The President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to the launch of Eko Atlantic. HERE FOR ARISE FASHION WEEK 💃🏾🇳🇬🖤💚🦅 pic.twitter.com/Wme3BRGvp3
— Naomi Campbell (@NaomiCampbell) March 30, 2018
Well played, but did she then just bump into the President and took shots on the streets? Did the Nigerian President then present himself for photo-ops with a supermodel to burnish her already established portfolio and promote her market? The scene of Mr Buhari’s delighted exclamation does not exactly support the theory, neither does the model state that she asked for the photos.
Oshey mami water! Baba actually said “wow!” 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/VnzA0M3Y1f
— Ose Anenih (@Papadonkee) March 30, 2018
Whoever did the asking, like it goes in local parlance, there sha was an asking and subsequent snapping with Campbell, same who has also snapped often and shared good times with the EFCC-wanted Kola Aluko. As with the fiasco from the award received supposedly from Martin Luther King Jr’s family, those who guide and moderate the President probably did precious little to ensure a match between the image they want of their client and the integrity and honor with which they associate him. Would it have been snobbish and stiff-necked to refuse Ms Campbell presidential selfies? Yes. Public opinion about the anti-social, out-of-date Buhari would have been re-affirmed. But what does it say about a supposedly secure presidential trip in a Nigerian state that a glamorous foreign model comfortably stumbles into his path while the roads are blocked off locals to make contact?
For those who bring a moral perspective in answering the opening question, her foreignness wouldn’t even be the issue. To clarify, they ask a different question: what if it was Cossy Orjiako, the “hard-working” Nigerian woman who may not be as globally renowned as Ms Campbell but is a Nigerian “icon” in her own right. Would the President have interrupted his tour to oblige her, presumably in her traditional scanty suits, some potentially-viral snaps?
By Alexander O. Onukwue | Follow @inquizimedia on Facebook and Twitter