Omololu Ogunmade, Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Laleye Dipo in Minna
President Muhammadu Buhari, a former Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have sent good wishes to former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida in commemoration of his 78th birthday anniversary.
Presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said Buhari in his birthday message to the former head of state, recalled Babangida’s courage and services to the country while in the Nigerian Army and thanked him for playing the role of statesman for his country.
The statement also quoted Buhari as praying for improved health and strength for Babangida so that he could offer his best both to his family and the country.
“On behalf of the Federal Executive Council, my family and all Nigerians, please accept my warm felicitations on your 78th birthday.
“On this special day of your life, the reminiscences of your courage and invaluable service to the army in protecting the sovereignty of the country come to the fore. Thank you for the role of statesman you are playing in the affairs the nation.
“As you age gracefully, the country will continue to look up to you for guidance and wisdom. May Allah continue to increase your health and grant you the strength to give your best to your family and the nation.”
In a congratulatory message to the former military president, Aliyu, described Babangida as a national asset that had benefited both the young and the old in the country and beyond.
In and out of government, the former governor noted that Babangida had been of immense benefits to both his immediate and distant societies, a quality he claimed had endeared him to many Nigerians.
Aliyu said IBB as the former military leader is fondly called, had been offering valuable advice to both the state and national governments, which had translated to the delivery of dividends of democracy to the populace.
“Nigeria and indeed all Nigerians will continue to draw from your fountain of knowledge to make the society a better place to live in,” he further said in his congratulatory message.
He however, challenged other Nigerians in the category of Babangida “to emulate his good virtues so that posterity will have positive stories to write about them.”
The national leadership of PDP in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said Babangida was one of such leaders, who had dedicated his life to the unity, stability and development of Nigeria.
The party described the former Nigerian leader as fearless, patriotic and detribalised.
PDP celebrated IBB for his many legacies while in office as well as his steadfastness and exceptional commitment towards national cohesion, tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the country.
“Indeed, from this great Nigerian flows an enduring lesson in selfless service. His life epitomises the true virtue of statesmanship and the fact that one can indeed climb to the very top and yet remain humble and accessible.
The party said: “The PDP therefore, joins family members, friends, associates and well-wishers in rolling out the drums in celebration of this outstanding leader, while praying God to continue to bless him with many more years of good health and sound mind so that our nation will continue to benefit from his wealth of experience for the good of all”.
Also, in his birthday message to Babangida, the senator representing Niger east senatorial zone, Senator Sani Musa described Babangida “as a bridge-builder, nation-builder, peacemaker and nationalist”, who has continued to “champion the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria.”
Musa also said Babangida “has remained an inspiration to many especially, young politicians, who continue to draw inspiration from his leadership qualities and charisma.
“Babangida is indeed a leader, whose influence traverses the shores of Nigeria. While he was the president, he played a great role in the unity of Africa. We are proud of him, and will continue to celebrate his iconic leadership and lifestyle.”