President Muhammadu Buhari and other eminent Nigerians have showered encomiums on former military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, on his 80th birthday, urging him to sustain his patriotic efforts in advocating peace and unity for the progress of the country.
Buhari sent birthday greetings to the former Nigerian leader who marks his 80th birth today, wishing him a “long and healthy life”.
In a statement released by presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, the president said as former military commanders during the war, both retiring as Generals, he and Babangida share mutual interests, great hopes and expectations in a strong and united Nigeria.
The president expressed hope that privileged Nigerians like Babangida and others like himself will recommit to ongoing efforts to help the country to reach more glory, progress, and prosperity.
In the same vein, the president of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, felicitated with the family, friends and associates of the General as they celebrates his remarkably fulfilled life.
Lawan, in a statement by his special adviser on media, Mr Ola Awoniyi, said, “President Babangida has attained this milestone in good health of mind and body, and with his legacy well established in the political history of our great country, Nigeria.
“President Babangida is a patriot and firm believer in the Nigerian project, which he promoted with courage and great wit as a soldier and a political leader.
The senate president prayed Allah to protect the elder statesman for many more years in good health.
On his part, Niger State governor and chairman, North Central States Governors’ Forum, Abubakar Sani Bello, described the former military president as a true patriot and nationalist who gave his all to ensure the unity and survival of Nigeria.
In a message to IBB on his 80th birthday, the governor said Babangida’s doggedness and resolve in nation-building were crucial to the stability, national and international unity as well as development of the country.
He said the former military president has remained an invaluable guardian, indispensable and relevant in the country’s match towards nationhood.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described Babangida as a quintessential statesman, highly courageous and detribalised leader.
The main opposition party, while felicitating with Babangida on his 80th birthday, added that the former military president has outstanding legacies in office and inexorable steadfastness to the unity, stability, national cohesion and development of the nation.
The national publicity secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement said, “Indeed, IBB stands tall as a highly resourceful leader; a living legend that serves as a strong lesson in humility, tolerance, broadmindedness, respect for others and pursuit of the good and welfare of all.
Similarly, former vice president Atiku Abubakar described former military President General Ibrahim Babangida as a pillar of unity and a firm believer in one Nigeria.
In a goodwill message on the occasion of Babangida’s 80th birthday anniversary, Atiku stated that IBB established a record of an inclusive government that reflected Nigeria’s ethnic and religious diversity.
The former vice president noted that even Babangida’s most stubborn critics can’t deny the fact that the former military leader had built a solid national infrastructure for the country which is still standing and visible around the country.
Atiku also paid tribute to IBB for assembling one of the best and most formidable cabinets in our recent history because of his commitment to excellence.
He commended Babangida’s remarkable childhood history. He said the General lost both his parents at an early age and had to struggle to pull himself up in life.
He described IBB as a man of vast knowledge, wisdom, wealth of experience and broad outlook on life.
He prayed to Allah to grant him more years in good health and vitality.
Also, the chief whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, described Babaginda as a bridge builder with passion for a united and indivisible Nigeria.
Kalu, in a goodwill message issued on Monday in Abuja to celebrate IBB at 80, acknowledged IBB’s contributions to nation building, saying he is an accomplished and dedicated elder statesman.
The former governor of Abia noted that Babangida has over the years sustained relationships across the country by building and strengthening ties among family, friends and associates, even as he said that the former military president is a strong advocate of peaceful co-existence among all ethnic groups in Nigeria.