• President says he still holds him in highest esteem
President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday showered praises on former President Olusegun Obasanjo as he turned 82 years old
Buhari on his part, said Obasanjo is “a passionate and great patriot who deserves accolades for his immeasurable contributions to our democracy and national unity.”
The president said he would continue to accord Obasanjo respect, in spite of their political differences.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, the President said, “regardless of our political differences with Obasanjo, I still hold him in the highest esteem because his contributions to the development of the country overshadow those differences.”
Recalling their days together in the country’s Armed Forces, Buhari noted, “Chief Obasanjo gave a good account of himself and inspired his juniors with his wit and other leadership skills.”
On Obasanjo’s indelible marks, the President said, “Nigeria’s successful transition to democratic rule in October 1979 was one of Obasanjo’s remarkable contributions to national development.”
“As he celebrates his 82nd Birthday Anniversary, I wish Chief Obasanjo more good health, knowledge and wisdom in the service of Nigeria and humanity.”
On his part, Jonathan felicitated with Obasanjo, describing him as a courageous leader who is committed to Nigeria’s unity and progress.
In a goodwill message which he personally signed, the former president also noted that Obasanjo belongs to the class of Africa’s great leaders.
It read: “I rejoice with you today on the occasion of your 82nd birthday. Indeed, you have been a great asset to our nation and your service to humanity has been exemplary.
“You are a patriotic and courageous leader who has remained steadfast in nation-building. Your legacies as a former Head of State and President of Nigeria will continue to endure; considering your achievements in the areas of unity, peace and development in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
“History has accorded you a place in the roll call of great leaders not just in Nigeria but also in Africa. So I join your family and other well-wishers to celebrate with you on this day.
“May God continue to bless you with strength and good health even as you enjoy more glorious years on earth. Happy birthday, Your Excellency.”