Onyebuchi Ezigbo and James Emejo in Abuja, Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto
Leaders and politicians belonging to different political parties have offered felicitations to President Muhammadu Buhari as he marks his 75th birthday today. Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, and Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose were among the first set of prominent Nigerians to send greetings to the president on the eve of his birthday. They hailed Buhari as a rare statesman for his experience in leadership and his commitment to the development of the country.
In a statement issued by his media adviser, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze yesterday, Jonathan described Buhari as a statesman whose rare experience in the leadership of Nigeria at different times had earned him a special place in history. The immediate past president and member of Peoples Democratic Party said in the statement, â€œI wish to most sincerely congratulate you on your 75th birthday. My family and I are pleased to join your numerous well-wishers to felicitate with you as you mark this day.
â€œYour Excellency, you are a statesman whose place in history as Nigeriaâ€™s leader, at different epochs in our nationâ€™s development journey, is guaranteed. I pray that God Almighty that has kept you alive and healthy will continue to protect and strengthen you as you lend your efforts to the bid to realise our collective dreams for a greater and more prosperous nation.â€
In his own message, Dogara, a member of Buhariâ€™s ruling All Progressives Congress, praised him as a leader who had come at a critical time in the history of the country to help it regain its glory.
â€œThe numerous achievements of our APC-led government which you pilot and your revolutionary zeal, courage and dynamism in leadership have earned you and indeed Nigeria, respect globally as well as inspired and rekindled the hope of Nigerians for better days ahead,â€ Dogara stated in the birthday greeting he personally signed.
The speaker stated further regarding the president, â€œYou have consistently demonstrated exceptional humility, uncommon integrity and dogged patriotism while piloting the affairs of the nation.
â€œYou have equally remained consistent in dealing with the hydra- headed problems of corruption, insecurity and unemployment through various reforms and interventions in line with your campaign promises.
“Under your leadership, Nigeria is steadily regaining its past glory and winning investors’ confidence and earning global respect and recognition.â€
He described the president as a visionary and prudent leader who had carved a niche for himself as military Head of State and brought to bear his long standing pedigree as an incorruptible leader in the discharge of his duties as a civilian President and Commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
While assuring the president of the continued support and cooperation of the legislature in the task of nation building, Dogara prayed God to continue to grant Buhari wisdom and many more years of sound health as he pilots the affairs of the nation.
â€œOn behalf of the leadership and entire membership of the House of Representatives, I wish to join the good people of Nigeria and numerous well-wishers across the globe in wishing Mr. President a happy Birthday, while praying God to continue to keep you in good health and bless you with more fruitful and prosperous years of service to the people and the nation,” Dogara stated.
Tambuwal said Buhari had paid his dues in the Nigerian polity, in a statement yesterday in Sokoto by his spokesman, Malam Imam Imam.
The governor stated, â€œAttaining 75 years in life calls for thanksgiving and expression of gratitude to God. I am glad the Almighty Allah has blessed our president with long life and good health.
â€œNo doubt, the president has proven himself to be a leader of high ethics and morality. We in Sokoto State join all Nigerians in wishing the president a happy birthday.â€
Fayose, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, said Buhari required the prayers of all Nigerians.
The governor, who is a member of the opposition PDP and one of Buhariâ€™s most vocal critics,, stated, â€œThis is to congratulate Mr President as he clocks 75. I want to thank God for his life and pray for good health in the service of our nation and that he continues to age with grace. I wish him the best. He represents us all and we owe him prayers and cooperation where necessary, just as we also need to criticise him too where necessary.â€
However, the Ekiti State governor added, â€œWe need an agile president come 2019. We need somebody that is experienced and agile. He shouldnâ€™t contest and the decision is his and his partyâ€™s. But that is not going to stop me and my party from taking over from him and his party come 2019.â€
APC also felicitated with Buhari on his birthday. The party said in their message, â€œWe attest that under his leadership, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is building a new Nigeria for our progress, peace, unity and prosperity; restoring our country to its deserved standing among the comity of progressive nations; fighting corruption and repairing our value system; diversifying our economic revenue base, creating jobs and economic opportunities for Nigerians; bringing succour to the insurgency-ravaged North-east; reforming the oil, defence, pensions, and other critical sectors and creating a world-class transport system, among others.
â€œOur great party wishes the president many more happy, healthy and rewarding years of service to the nation and party.â€