President Muhammadu Buhari turned 80 years old on Saturday, and prominent Nigerians, including former president Goodluck Jonathan, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, All Progressives Congress’ Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu and President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, are saluting the President and extolling his leadership qualities.
In a goodwill message he personally signed, Jonathan noted that President Buhari has had an exceptional opportunity of leading the country twice, both as a military Head of State and civilian President, and prayed for God’s guidance and protection as he pilots the affairs of the nation in the remaining months of his administration.
The former President stated: “I am delighted to felicitate you on the occasion of your 80th birthday. I join your family, friends and other well-wishers to thank God for the gift of life and the strength to pilot the affairs of this nation for the past seven and a half years.
“As a leader, you are one of the few Nigerians who have been privileged to administer our country at different political eras; both as a military Head of State and civilian president. During these times, you have offered your best efforts in the pursuit of your aspirations for the nation.
“As you celebrate, I wish you the strength, peace and God’s guidance in the remaining months of your administration and even beyond. On behalf of my family, I wish you a happy birthday.”
Atiku, in his goodwill message, said Buhari at 80, “continues to be a motivation for inner strength.”
The PDP presidential flag-bearer prays for President Buhari “to continue to enjoy the grace of good health and vitality, as he continues to play his leadership roles in Nigeria and Africa.”
Tinubu: Buhari, a Patriot, Selfless, Steadfast Leader
The APC Presidential Candidate, Tinubu, hailed the president for “his commitment to nation-building and long years of patriotic service to the country.”
In the statement from his Media Office, signed by Mr. Tunde Rahman, Tinubu further described Buhari as “a patriot, selfless and steadfast leader of uncommon zeal,” and noted that Buhari enlisted himself into the service of the country as a teenager who joined the military immediately after secondary school.
Tinubu said: “At 80, President Buhari can look back and be proud of his unblemished record of service to the nation throughout his military career as a soldier, platoon commander, General Officer Commanding, Military Governor, Minister of Petroleum, Head of State, Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund and as the current leader of the country.
“I heartily congratulate my president and my leader, Muhammadu Buhari, on the momentous and remarkable occasion of his 80th birthday. An officer and a gentleman, President Buhari has been a selfless and steadfast leader, and a patriot with uncommon zeal who has dedicated almost his entire life to the service of Nigeria.
“Our country is lucky to have this great man and dedicated public servant at this time. President Buhari has led an extraordinary life of service to Nigeria at every duty post with unassailable integrity. History will be kind to him and record his contributions to the progress, unity and stability of Nigeria in volumes.
“As a people, we are truly blessed to have a president who sees no higher honour than the opportunity to serve his people, a responsibility he has always carried with utmost dedication.
“We are proud that at age 80, this noble man, an officer and a gentleman is still rendering his service, recording tremendous achievements, the country making remarkable progress under his leadership, and his steady hands gradually guiding the country to the Promised Land. On behalf of our great party, APC, and my family, I join the family, friends, associates and all well-wishers of President Buhari to wish him happy birthday and many happy returns of the day in good health.”
Lawan: Millions of Nigerians Inspired By Buhari’s Story
The President of the Senate, in a statement he also personally signed, extolled the leadership virtues of President Buhari, while joining “the generality of Nigerians and Buhari’s admirers across the world in rejoicing with his family over his reaching this milestone in good health.”
Lawan said: “Your Excellency, millions of Nigerians are inspired by your life story and legacy of service to our dear and great country. As a soldier, military Head of State and democratically elected President, you consistently fought for the unity, development and progress of Nigeria.
“As we approach the end of your tenure on 29th May, 2023, you can rest assured that millions of Nigerians across our vast country genuinely appreciate your achievements in nation-building and in strengthening the guardrails of democracy in Nigeria.
“The record of your administration in infrastructural development across the nation is unrivaled and will continue to speak for your stewardship long after your retirement. Your Excellency, once again, I wish you a happy birthday celebration and many more years in good health and happiness.”
Former governor of Ekiti State and the President of the Forums of Regions of Africa (FORAF), Kayode Fayemi, praised Buhari at 80, saying as a leader, the President has done his best to fix the multi-dimensional problems plaguing Nigeria.
Fayemi noted: even the fiercest critics of the President would not deny his personal integrity, his ascetic lifestyle and his love for the common people, which has been demonstrated in the numerous social development and pro-people policies and programmes of the federal government in the last seven and half years.
“Buhari has shown through his personal example and conduct that a new kind of leadership is possible in Africa, one that is not exemplified by the accumulation of personal wealth but speedy social and infrastructural transformation through government action.
“As the President marks his 80th birthday, I felicitate with him and his family. I wish him continuous good health and a long and prosperous life.”
Buhari was born on December 17, 1942, in Daura, in the present day Katsina state.
Charles Ajunwa in Lagos and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja