President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, while celebrating with former Head of State and Chairman of the National Peace Committee, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, on his 80thbirthday, said the. Country owed him a debt of gratitude for always putting Nigeria and her citizens first.
The president, in a release by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, joined family members, friends and associates of the former Head of State in celebrating the milestone, taking into full cognisance the historic roles he has played in the unity and peace of Nigeria, and in laying the building blocks of democracy.
Also, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and the Alumni Association of the 41st Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), amongst otherts, saluted Abubakar on his 80th birthday.
However, Buhari, in his message stated: “The President believed the nation owes General Abubakar debt of gratitude for always putting the interest of the country and its citizens first, and working for the greater good of Nigeria and a better Africa.”
While praying that the Almighty God would continually bless the him with good health, strength and wisdom, he noted the meritorious service of the former Chief of Defence Staff, sacrificing for the country and African continent by participating in peace missions and negotiating for the upholding of democracy across the continent.
President Buhari further extolled the humility and humanity of the Army General, who chose the noble path by ensuring transition to democratic government in 1999, and midwifed a peaceful handover process in 2015.
Lawan, who joined members of the family, friends and associates of the elder statesman in celebrating this milestone, wrote: “I felicitate former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, as he turns 80 today.
“It is worth special gratitude and thanksgiving to Allah that the General has reached this milestone in good health of body and mind, and with his place firmly secured in the history of this great country.
“The elder statesman will always be celebrated for his role in birthing Democracy and for tirelessly promoting peace and stability in Nigeria through his platform, the National Peace Committee.”
Atiku, in a statement in Abuja, said the former Head of State demonstrated great patriotism and commitment to unity and democracy by keep faithfully to his transition timetable in 1999.
According to him, Abdulsalami has also committed himself to the promotion of unity and democracy since leaving office by involving himself in peace building efforts in the country.
“As you celebrate your 80th birthday today (Monday), I’m excited to say that my interactions with you have always been fruitful, because I see in you a great fountain of inspiration and a reservoir of wisdom and knowledge,” Atiku extolled the general.
The former Vice president, in a statement from his media office, also noted that Abdulsalami’s contributions to creating a culture of politics without bitterness, would always be appreciated by Nigerians.
“Keeping a promise is one of the greatest signs of a great leader. General Abdulsalami has met that criterion. I’m proud to associate with such a great and patriotic Nigerian. May Allah grant the General more good health and longer life to continue to serve humanity,” he added.
Officers of the 41st Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), on their part, described the former head of state as a “fine gentleman officer of the finest cut,” hailing Abubakar as an accomplished general and seasoned statesman of repute.
In a statement by the President and the Publicity Secretary of the Association, Lancelot Anyanya and Faruq Baba-Inna, the association stated that the continued existence of the organisation was traceable to Abudusalami and other officers.
The group said the 33 years of the organisation as an alumni association was due to the excellent work done by the then Brigadier Abdulsalami Abubakar and other very fine senior officers, when he chaired the Armed Forces Selection Board for 41 Regular Course.
The statement further added that it was by divine providence that Abubakar became the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), to preside over the convocation and formal commissioning ceremonies as officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces on behalf of the then Head of State, Commander-in-Chief, adding that through the providential circumstances, he rose to become the nation’s Commander-in-Chief.
“The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) 41st Regular Course Alumni Association warmly and heartily felicitates with a fine Gentleman Officer of the finest cut, accomplished general and seasoned statesman on the auspicious occasion of his 80th birthday on 13th June 2022.
“We note that the basis of our connection and continuing relationship as an alumni association is traceable to the excellent work done by the then Brigadier Abdulsalami Abubakar and other very fine senior officers, as Chairman of the Armed Forces Selection Board for 41 Regular Course about this time 33years ago.
“By divine providence, Maj Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) presided over our convocation and formal commissioning ceremonies as officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces on behalf of the then Head of State, Commander-in-Chief.
“The senior citizen in providential circumstances became our Commander-in-Chief from which service platform our country’s current democratic dispensation was birth,” it said.