Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, says Abba Kyari, the late chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, was his ‘best man’ when he wedded in the Anglican church many years ago.
A best man acts as one of the witnesses in a wedding and is usually one of the groom’s closest friends.
In his tribute to Kyari, Onyeama said the late chief of staff to the president was also the godfather to his first son during his baptism.
He recalled how the two officiating ministers at his wedding, and at the son’s baptism, were surprised to see Kyari, a Muslim, in the role of his best man and son’s godfather respectively.
“When I left Warwick University for Cambridge, Abba came to Cambridge to introduce me to his friends there as he had studied in the city for his Advanced levels.
“After graduating from Warwick University, Abba went up to Cambridge to study law. We kept in touch throughout the last 43 years. We ended up together in Lagos in 1982 to attend Law School for a year.
“When I left Nigeria in 1985 to work in Geneva for 30 years Abba came to Geneva often to stay with me and whenever I was in Nigeria, he made it a point of coming to see me wherever I was.
“When I got married in Owo to my wife from Idoani, Ondo State, Abba was my Best-Man. The officiating Vicar was somewhat perplexed because I was a Roman Catholic Igbo, marrying an Anglican Yoruba in an Anglican church with a Muslim Kanuri/Shuwa Arab Best-Man from Borno State!
“The officiating Catholic priest in Geneva, Switzerland, two years later, during the baptism of our first son, was equally perplexed when a muslim Abba Kyari and a muslim Muni Attah-Sonibare were the Godfather and Godmother respectively!
“Abba was a Pan-Nigerian, global citizen, who recognized no boundaries between peoples, be they racial, ethnic, religious, class or political. He made friends with everyone.”