The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, has described his attainment of 65 years as a bonus, in the light of the life expectancy in the country.
He made the remark in Abuja at a special birthday thanksgiving, which was organised by the staff of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) as part of activities to commemorate his 65th birthday.
Mustapha, who also the Chairman Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, noted that as the life expectancy for men in Nigeria is between 54 to 58 years, clocking 65 implied that he had broken that jinx by getting some extra years.
“Being 65 means a lot to me, truly, because the expectancy, life expectancy rate in Nigeria for men is between 54 and 58. So, it means that I have crossed that bar. What I have been getting now is a bonus. It has been a long journey; it has been a very happy, sometimes tedious journey.
“And it is a moment of reflection truly in my life, you have not gotten to where I have got in the terms of age. I believe that God is leading me somewhere. It is a moment of reflection,” Mustapha said.
He, however, said that, Nigerians have lots to be grateful to God ahead of the nation’s 61st Independence anniversary.
Reflecting on the state of the nation and expectations, he said: “Nigeria is known for human and material resources. We are not where we want to be as a nation, but the crafting of nationhood, is a gradual process. We have had our fair share of crisis, but we have overcome those crisis. And our trajectory into the future is bright.
“If you see some of the things that we have been able to do under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to exit the recession in record time most established democracies are battling with recession, we have exited it. And you can see the growth pattern that is evolving, I believe in Nigerians who consciously acknowledge the fact that this is our nation.
“You see the power of life and death. This is what you say about your country is what you get. I think the future looks good. The picture is rosy. Building a nation is a gradual process and it is a sustainable and enduring process which is not a sprint, it is a marathon.
“Most of the democracies that we want to compare ourselves with have gone past 300 years – some 400 years,” Mustapha said.
In the same manner, the SGF also conceded that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of the country’s health care that people thought were perfect but which is being properly managed.
He said: “I believe that we have a great country. We all have to work together in harmony. Yes, there are difficulties here and there, which we must acknowledge. But when you acknowledge the difficulties and begin to walk towards the job, this begins the processes of building a virile nation.”
Also in her remark at the reception, the spouse of the SGF, Mrs. Funmilayo Boss Mustapha, said apart from celebrating his 65 birthday, she and the family were also grateful to God for the privilege of Mustapha serving the nation as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“The work is enormous. I must admit, but every day he depends on God. Every day he draws his wisdom from God, and God has been guiding him and helping him to articulate and to help in the responsibilities that he holds for the nation.
“I love him more today than I did when we got married 33 years ago. He is a good man. He is a great father. I learnt a lot from him. Yes, he has a lot of humility. He is generous, kind, loving and everything that a woman would want in a man,” she said.
Asked on how the family copes with his demanding schedules as SGF, Mrs. Mustapha said: “We pray for him. I think that is the most important thing that we can do: we pray for him. Sometimes we are human beings and we are like, oh we wish we could have more of your time, but then we know the enormity of the assignment that is before him, so we just pray for him and commit him into Gods hands.”
Also joining those that feted the SGF is President Muhammadu Buhari, who in his birthday message, praised Mustapha for bringing passion and commitment into the service of the country.
Buhari described the SGF as a dedicated public servant, with the nation’s COVID-19 management under him worthy of praise.
The resident said: “Since his appointment as SGF, my respect and admiration for Mustapha have grown ever stronger and deeper because of the passion and energy with which he does his job.”
On his part, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, descrbed Mustapha as a distinguished Nigerian, who has enriched public office with personal integrity and dedication to work.
He said his glittering public service record is a testimony to his deep knowledge of the system and understanding of it as a veritable vehicle for development.
Lawan joined his family, friends and political associates to rejoice with him on the auspicious occasion.