From Kenneth Udeh, Abuja
Thursday’s plenary session ended on an emotional note for the leader of the 9th Senate, Kebbi North Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, who turned a year older and was treated to a birthday surprise by the Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
Sitting side by side at red chambers prior to the commencement of the day’s plenary on Thursday, while awaiting the arrival of Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Senator Yahaya intimated Senator Kalu that the day, December 10, was his birthday.
Armed with the information, Senator Kalu fast-tracked the arrangement of a birthday cake inscribed with the title of the Senate Leader without the knowledge of the celebrant. The cake was conveyed to the Chief Whip’s office. Upon the arrival of the Senate President to begin sitting, Senator Kalu whispered to the Senate President, Deputy Leader of the Senate, Senator Borofice Ajayi and some other senators on his plan.
At the end of the plenary, the Senate President and some other Senators proceeded to Senator Kalu’s office, while Yahaya was asked by Senator Kalu to join him for a crucial meeting at his office.
On arrival at Senator Kalu’s office, Senator Yahaya was greeted with the birthday cake inscribed with his name, followed by a birthday song rendered by the Senate President and others present.
Speaking at the office of the Senate Chief Whip, an emotional Yahaya, who turned 70, disclosed that the mini birthday celebration was the second time he would be treated to such a surprise in his life.
Giving a tearful speech, Senator Yahaya expressed gratitude to Senator Kalu for pulling off the surprise in just a few hours, saying that he never expected it.
‘This is the second time in my life that I would be treated to a birthday surprise. The first time was when I was in the civil service and this makes it the second time. I am grateful to Senator Kalu for this, honestly, I am in short of words because I never expected it. I just told him to wish me well in his prayers, not knowing he could organise a cake, but not only that, he mobilised the Senate President, the Deputy Leader and others to come and celebrate me,’ the Senator remarked.
‘I have never been this honoured on my birthday. I also specially thank the Senate President for being here to celebrate me. I will never forget this day in my life.’
Senator Lawan had special words for the Senate Leader, describing him as honest, committed and dedicated to work. Lawan also thanked Senator Kalu for pulling off the mini occasion on very short notice.
‘The credit goes to you to Senator Orji Kalu, I am not surprised that the Chief Whip has decided to do this. This kind of occasion gives you a reality of the perception that we, your colleagues, have about you.
‘We are all desirous of ensuring that this leader continues to shine. When the leader shines then those who are led also shine. You have been absolutely fantastic; I knew you from 2003 when I was in the House of Representatives, and up to this time, you have been the same person. You are the same person that is honest and committed. I have enjoyed that relationship from 2003 till date and we are all very proud of you. May God continue to give you good health, long life and continue to guide you and give you better opportunities to serve your people,’ the Senate President said.
Senator Kalu on his part narrated to the visibly excited principal actors of the red chambers how he organised the birthday reception.
‘The leader told me casually this morning that it was his birthday,’ Senator Kalu said.
‘You know me and him are usually the first to arrive at the chambers to welcome the Senate President.
‘So without him knowing I stood up and called out the Senate President’s secretary to quickly go and order for a cake with the name of the Senate Leader on it and send it to my office and hide it there.’
He continued: ‘Senator Yahaya is a technocrat and a committed person who wants to work for the benefit of the people. He is a man who loves to work. I tell people that whatever that is worth doing is worth doing well, and I feel that a leader’s birthday should be marked, not necessarily with a feast. But this a token to continue showing the love we have for him and the work he has been doing for the Senate President and for all the Senators. It wasn’t planned, it was just initiated this morning and this same morning I told the Deputy Senate Leader.
Also present were Senator Yaroe Binos Dauda, Senator Istifanus Gyang Deputy, Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Borofice Robert Ajayi and Senator Amos Bulus Kilawangs.