A historic photo of Nigeria’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi with Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, second son of late ruler of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi surfaced on social media earlier this week.
In the picture sighted by The New Diplomat, Akinyemi was seen with the two sons of the Libyan revolutionary leader. The picture broke into the internet space days after Seif had declared his intention to contest in the Libyan presidential election scheduled to hold on December 24.
Reacting to the viral picture, Akinyemi, who was Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister between 1985 and 1987, said he took the picture with the two sons of the late Gaddafi when he went to deliver a special message from his then principal, General Ibrahim Babangida to Gaddafi.
Speaking on the presidential ambition of Seif, the former minister said the junior Gaddafi stand no chance in the forthcoming election.
He explained that Seif cannot win the election based on the reputation of his family.
Recall that Gaddafi dominated Libya’s politics for four decades. He ruled the country from the 1st of September 1969 to the 20th of October, 2011, when he was forced out by the West.
His tenure of over four decades came to an end following a widespread uprising against Gaddafi and his regime in Libya. The protests broke out into a civil war, and Gaddafi was captured and killed by the anti-Gaddafist National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters.
Bearing his mind further on Seif’s prospects at the poll, as well as the viral picture he took with him, Akinyemi said there are many Libyans who dislike Seif because of his father, hence making it difficult for him to win the coming poll.
In his words, “There are people who because of the Gaddafi name will vote for him and then there for him. Ghaddafi was popular but we must not make a mistake that there were people who didn’t like him, though he was definitely overthrown by western interests. I don’t think he stands a chance.”
“When I was Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, I visited Libya several times when Gaddafi was in power. Even though he was a head of state and I was just a foreign minis ter, for some strange reasons, he had a lot of respect for me.
“The picture was taken on one of those occasions when I had visited with a special message from Gen eral Ibrahim Babangida. At the time, you don’t even know where he is. You just wait and at the last minute his protocol people will come and pick you that the leader was ready to re ceive you.
“We drove and drove all through Tripoli until we were brought to him and those two lovely children got talking, he told the two children to go and take pictures with me.
“The boy (Seif) was very shy, he was on my right. Gaddafi was speaking to them in English, he said you are standing before a very important man; he comes from a very important country. This is going to be a valuable picture. I was just laughing when we took the picture before they were taken away. It was later sent to the Nigerian ambassador who then forwarded the picture to me and have kept it since then, for over 30 years now.”