In early 1989, seven weeks after his father moved into the White House, Jeb Bush took a trip to Nigeria.
Nearly 100,000 Nigerians turned out to see him over four days as he accompanied the executives of a Florida company called Moving Water Industries, which had just retained Bush to market the firm’s pumps. Escorted by the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, Bush met with the nation’s political and religious leaders as part of an MWI effort to land a deal that would be worth $80 million.
“My father is the president of the United States, duly elected by people that have an interest in improving ties everywhere,” he told a group of dignitaries in a private meeting, according to a video documenting the visit. “The fact that you have done this today is something I will report back to him very quickly when I get back to the United States.”
Just days after Jeb Bush returned home, President George H.W. Bush sent a note to Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida, thanking him for hosting his son. “We are grateful to you,” President Bush wrote on White House stationery.