A rain of encomiums and felicitations have been pouring in for former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (retd) as he steps into the octogenarian league.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in a congratulatory message yesterday wished him a “long and healthy life.”
He said as former military commanders during the war, they had mutual interests, great hopes and expectations in a strong and united Nigeria.
He expressed hope that privileged Nigerians like Babangida and others like himself would recommit to ongoing efforts to help the nation to reach more glory, progress, and prosperity.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, also rejoiced with the family, friends and associates of the general as they celebrate his remarkably fulfilled life.
“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.
“While in government, he worked to keep Nigeria united and to make it stable and prosperous.
“Even out of power and in well-deserved retirement, IBB has continued to promote our democracy and national unity,” Lawan said.
Bridge builder -Kalu
Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu described IBB 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 his contributions to nation building.
The former governor of Abia also described him as an accomplished and dedicated elder statesman.
According to Kalu, IBB has over the years sustained relationships across the country by building and strengthening ties among family, friends and associates.
He said that the former President is a strong advocate of peaceful co-existence among all ethnic groups in Nigeria.
“On behalf of the people of Abia North Senatorial District, I felicitate with former President of Nigeria, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
“The former president has contributed immensely to the social, economic and political development of Nigeria. The former military ruler is a selfless, patriotic and highly detrabilised statesman. The country will continue to benefit from his wealth of experience in leadership.’’
According to him, having served the country in the highest position, the celebrant deserves to be celebrated for his giant achievements.
While appreciating the former president as a rare gem, Kalu urged the celebrant to sustain his patriotic efforts in advocating peace and unity across the country. He wished the former president a glorious celebration and longer life as he serves humanity.
Pillar of unity – Atiku
A pillar of unity and a firm believer in one Nigeria was how former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, described him.
Abubakar said in a statement that IBB established an inclusive government that reflected Nigeria’s ethnic and religious diversities: “You can’t deny IBB the credit for his sincere efforts to build a viable federation founded on equitable representation.”
He noted that even Babangida’s “most stubborn critics’’ could not deny the fact that the former military leader had built a solid national infrastructure for the country which was still standing and visible around the country.
The former vice president also paid tribute to IBB for assembling one of the best and most formidable cabinets in Nigeria’s recent history because of his commitment to excellence.
Okowa salutes IBB at 80
Delta Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, thanked the former head of state for his contributions to nation-building, recalling that it was during his administration that a number of states, including Delta, and new local government areas were created: “As you join the Octogenarian club, we commend you for your remarkable contributions to nation-building.