President Muhammadu Buhari turned 78 on Thursday, December 17, remaining Nigeria’s oldest civilian leader in power.
To celebrate his new age, former president Goodluck Jonathan; National Leader, All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu; President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and a few state governors penned tributes to the retired Major General, wishing him God’s blessings as he leads the nation.
Jonathan, in a goodwill message, acknowledged Buhari’s long-standing commitment to the country, adding that he has previously held key positions of leadership in service to Nigeria.
“I join your family, friends, political associates and all Nigerians to congratulate you on the occasion of your 78 birthday,” he said, adding, “Yours has been a record of steadfast service to our nation at different political eras; having served as a military officer, military governor, minister, head of state and now President of Nigeria.”
The Senate President in his message said Buhari in all the years of his leadership of the country has shown a commitment to the unity, peace and even development of Nigeria. He rejoiced with the president for marking the occasion in good health and good spirit.
“From the ongoing massive infrastructure projects across the country, series of programmes targeted at lifting the most vulnerable, like the social investment scheme, to the numerous bold initiatives of his government aimed at diversifying the economy, President Buhari is leveraging on his integrity and good standing with the masses to courageously guide Nigeria through a difficult phase into future prosperity,” he said.
Gbajabiamila, in a birthday message, said Buhari deserves being celebrated at 78 given his commitment to a better Nigeria for the good of the citizens.
“Nigeria and Nigerians have gained a lot from your wealth of experience and selfless service to the country and humanity in your 78-year sojourn on mother earth. As our leader, your humility, dedication to the unity of Nigeria and commitment to making the country better are unquestionable,” his stated.
Gbajabiamila said under the APC, Buhari has redefined selfless service, adding that “Nigerians should continue to support the president for there are better days ahead.”
Tinubu also felicitated Buhari and called him a “true patriot who wants the best for the nation,” adding that he also joined him in that desire. In the congratulatory statement he said: “I join with all patriotic and peace-loving Nigerians in supporting your efforts to move Nigeria forward and to find lasting solutions to the longstanding issues that have faced our nation for so long.
“You are a true patriot who wants the best for the nation and I join you in this desire. May Almighty Allah bless these efforts and support us so that at the end of the day we shall overcome and that Nigeria must stand as a prosperous and peaceful nation.”
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babjide Sanwo-Olu, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello and his Ogun’s Dapo Abiodun also joined the party, expressing the appreciation of Buhari to unity, growth and development of the country.
Bello in a statement he personally signed on Thursday described Buhari as a general, noting that the President has been a source of inspiration to him and many others.
“Your Excellency, you have been a great father, mentor and source of inspiration to me in particular and many of your loyalists across the federation,” he said. “Over the last five years of your administration, you have shown strong leadership, dedication and commitment to the overall development and growth of all facets of our dear country, Nigeria.
“You have no doubt achieved a lot in delivering your campaign promises to the Nigerian amidst daunting challenges of insecurities which you have continued to tackle head-on over the past five years.”
According to Bello, Nigeria has continued to witnessed infrastructural development across all the geopolitical zones of the country under President Buhari’s administration. On his part, the Ogun Governor wished President Buhari well in what he described as the arduous task of nation-building.
“As you continue to serve our nation with an uncommon sense of patriotism and unwavering dedication, I thank Almighty God for granting you a life of great accomplishments and abiding fulfillment,” Governor Abiodun was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin.
“I have no doubt that as you celebrate your birthday, you will be more concerned about the myriad of challenges facing the nation and how to resolve them to the advantage of our people”, he said.
“We in Ogun State share in both the joy and challenges and pray that this birthday will bring you the good fortune to address the security, economic and political challenges facing our country. Happy Birthday Mr President and many happy returns.”
Born in 1942, he took over office first as a Major-General, and became Nigeria’s head of state in 1983, under the Supreme Military Council at age 41.
He ventured into full politics and after three attempts; he became Nigeria’s fourth democratically elected President in 2015 since the fourth republic in 1999 and won re-election in 2019.
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