Usually, when you get an email from a Nigerian king, you mark it as spam and move on.

However, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston is careful not to do that – because he’s developed a solid friendship with King Kabiru Shotobi, who presides over a highly populated section of Nigeria.

The king was in Greensboro this week and Alston said he spent some quality time with him and his wife the queen.

On one afternoon, Alston, Shotobi and an entourage of others toured the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

Greensboro City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba, who was born and raised in Nigeria, and his wife had dinner with the king and queen along with Alston and his wife and others.  The king and the city manager’s wife had plenty to talk about, and Alston explained why.

“He’s a king in Ikorodu, Lagos – where Tai’s wife is from,” Alston said.

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan also hung out some with the king and others.

Alston met the king through a mutual friend, Bob Brown, who founded a global business management consulting company based in High Point.

Alston said that, decades ago, Brown had a good deal of business in Africa and spent a lot of time there. Brown met Shotobi – then a young man working at a hotel in Nigeria – who wanted to study in America.

Brown said not only would he help Shotobi find a school but he would also pay for the young man’s education.

The king (though not one at the time) graduated from North Carolina A&T State University.

Alston first met Shotobi for the first time through Brown about seven years ago when Shotobi was visiting Greensboro.

According to Alston, Shotobi was chosen from a group of 24 Nigerians who were seeking the crown for that region of the country.

Shotobi has been very impressed with the civil rights museum over the years, Alston said, adding that, when the king comes to town, he brings a gift for the museum to display.  For instance, he has donated a set of his regalia – ceremonial Nigerian clothing he wore when he assumed the lofty position.

Alston, when asked whether he had ever considered leaving Guilford County and becoming a king in another country, replied, “I’ve been asked a few times, but I’ve always said no.”