Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has described former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, as a living legend and symbol of national unity, as he turned 85.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said that as Nigeria’s youngest leader since Independence, Gowon’s visionary leadership style, wisdom and disciplined outlook kept the country as one, extolling him for his faith and steadfastness in God in times of adversity, and courageously pursuing the interest of majority Nigerians for a unified and stronger country.
The president expressed the belief that the elder statesman laid a solid foundation for the country to thrive, with the creation of federating units, and implementation of futuristic policies like the National Youths Service Corps, that has consistently served the purpose of fostering unity, harmony and expanding the horizons of young Nigerians for life-time opportunities.
President Buhari commended Gowon’s simplicity and humility, leaving the highest position in the country to return to school for further studies, and returning to provide wise counsels to leaders, encouraging good governance and setting up an organisation, Nigeria Prays, that consistently upholds the nation in prayers.
The President noted that the former head of state has stayed relevant in Nigeria and beyond, and enjoys wide respect from far and near. President Buhari congratulated all family members, friends and close associates of the exemplary leader on the auspicious occasion of his 85th birthday, praying that the Almighty God will always remember his sacrifices for the nation, and grant him longer life, good health and strength to keep working for the good of country and humanity.