Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, at a surprise 79th birthday reception organised for him in Istanbul on Friday promised to advance the interest of Nigerians and that of the nation as he prepares to leave office in May, 2023.
The President also used the forum to disclose that he was itching to return to his farm in Daura, Katsina State to tend his crops and livestock.
As he stepped out of his suite, moving to the meeting room, President Buhari met a surprise lineup of the Nigerian delegation with a cake decorated in Nigeria’s national colours.
The group broke into a chorus, as they began chanting “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who spoke on behalf of the delegation, and the Ambassador of Nigeria to Turkey, Ismail Yusuf Abba, congratulated the President on the good work “he is doing for the country”, and wished him a happy birthday, many healthy years ahead and the energy to give his best to the nation.
Onyeama noted, in particular, that the President “continues to have a good run with his health, getting better and more active with time.”
Responding to the tribute, Buhari said he would put-in his best for Nigeria until the last day when, in 2023 he hands over to a successor and returns to his farm to tend crops and livestock.
According to him: “I thought that being away from Abuja I will escape these things. The Guards Brigade had written to tell me what they wanted to do on this day. Now here you are doing this far away from home.
“I look forward to the year 2023 when I finish, to go home to take charge of my farm. Between now and that time, I will do the best that is possible to advance the interest of the nation and its people, and carry out my duties as prescribed by the Constitution.”
The President later cut a birthday cake moulded in the national colours of green-white-green and went straight to chair a planning meeting with officials in his delegation. Thereafter, he drove to the Dolmabahce Palace for the meeting with Erdogan.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja