Presidency spokesperson Akande, shares story of how Colin Powell aided his journalism career

Akande often ran into the ex-U.S. General, while covering the White House and United Nations.

Laolu Akande (L) and Colin Powell

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, says late U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell was "a profoundly great man."

Powell, who was the first black U.S. Secretary of State, died on Monday, October 18, 2021 from COVID-19 complications, aged 84.

Akande, who covered the White House and the United Nations, has offered his tributes to Powell, who he ran into on a couple of occasions in the course of his trade.

Akande writes that: "Saddened yesterday afternoon at the news of the passing of Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"When President George H. Bush named him Chairman, he was the youngest ever to attain that height.

"And then President George W. Bush also later appointed him Secretary of State several years after his retirement.

"For a black journalist practising in the US then covering, on a stretch, the White House, State Dept and the United Nations, Colin Powell, then Secretary of State was both a target for me for media chats/interviews, and also an awesome inspiration.

"And he obliged me a few times starting in New York in February 2004, after himself and Kofi Annan addressed a UN Donors Conference on Liberia, and then later in Washington DC, where the photo above was taken at an award dinner in his honor in 2005.

"He was not just a profoundly great man, but most respectable man whose life and career remains an exemplar.

"He once said he wasn't an outstandingly brilliant student growing up, but yet went on to have an astonishingly stellar career in the military and public service.

"He inspired and encouraged me so much, he certainly won't be forgotten. May his memory be blessed and may God give his family, friends and associates, the fortitude to bear this loss."

Powell was also fond of Nigerian Afrobeats, famously mounting the stage to sing and dance along to Olu Maintain's 'Yahoozee' at the Africa Rising Festival at London’s Royal Albert Hall, in 2008.

Powell battled multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells that suppresses the body's immune response, as well as Parkinson's.

His family disclosed that he was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but had become immuno-compromised due to his prolonged battle with cancer.

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