A friend who knows my relationship with Baba Olusegun Obasanjo observed, on social media, that I was not a part of the two teams that played a novelty football match in Abeokuta to mark his 85th birthday yesterday.
Well, I was there.
The challenge was that I was elevated to the position of Special Guest of Honour by the Chairman of the Organising Committee, Prof. Peter Okebukola (yes, the same one).
My responsibilities were to sit next to the Chairman of the event, and, at the end, to decorate the two teams with their well-earned medals.
So, I sat next to the Chairman, 88 year-old former President of the Republic of Benin (1991 – 1996), Nicephore Dieudonne Soglo, a very close friend of Baba, who, as I discovered with relief later, could speak some decent English. So, we chatted through most of the 20 minutes of the match.
My biggest relief was that Baba neither stumbled nor fell at any point during the match despite the high level of his involvement. He had such perfect balance on his feet.
The pleasant shock was that he cantered around the field, passing and kicking the ball for the entire duration of the match. He was also deservedly responsible for scoring all the three goals against the Governor Dapo Abiodun-opposing team led by the Deputy Governor.
For an 85 year-old, Baba Obasanjo is incredibly fit. He must be one of the fittest humans of his age on earth. He was an inspiration to watch.
Early this morning, less than 24 hours after the football match, he spent an entire hour sweating and pounding his heart on the squash court!
It is incredulous and simply amazing.