Buhari at 79, speaks on retirement, gets felicitations from Jonathan, others

President Muhammadu Buhari in a message to mark his 79th birthday said he would go home to tend to his farm after completing his tenure in 2023.

The Nigerian president has a ranch in his hometown, Daura, in Katsina State.

“I look forward to 2023 when I finish my tenure, to go home to take charge of my farm,” Buhari said on Friday in a Facebook post where he talked about how he celebrated his birthday.

Buhari is currently in Istanbul, Turkey, for the third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit, hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey.

He left Abuja for Turkey on Thursday.

The President cut a birthday cake “moulded in national colours, green-white-green” on Friday morning, according to a statement issued by the Presidency.

From there, “he went straight to chair a planning meeting with officials in his delegation and thereafter drove to the Dolmabahce Palace for a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Recep Erdogan”.

“I had thought that being away from Abuja, I will escape a celebration. The Guards Brigade had written to tell me what they wanted to do on this day. Now here we (are), far away in Turkey, and I still didn’t escape,” Buhari said in the Facebook post, which appears to be a response he gave at the celebration organised for him in Istanbul.

“Between now and that time, I will do the best that is possible to advance the interest of the nation and its people, and carry out my duties as prescribed by the Constitution.

“I thank the Almighty God for this day. Now the work continues,” he added.

Buhari, a retired major general in the Nigerian Army, defeated the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 to become the Nigerian president. He won re-election in 2019 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

His administration has, however, been plagued by serious security challenges, including the Boko Haram insurgency in the country’s North-east, the Biafra agitation in South-east, and the abduction-for-ransom and the incessant killing in several parts of the country.

Meanwhile, eminent Nigerians, including former President Goodluck Jonathan, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, among others, on Saturday paid glowing tributes to President Muhammadu Buhari, on his 79th birthday today, Friday, December 17.

Leading the pack, Jonathan, while praying God to grant the president good health, peace and long life, noted Buhari’s contributions to the development of Nigeria and commended him for his support and commitment to the peace mediation of the Economic community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Mali.

The former president, who stated this in a goodwill message personally signed, wrote: “I am delighted to join your family, friends, well-wishers and fellow compatriots to celebrate you on the occasion of your 79th birthday.

“Your Excellency, as a statesman and patriot, you have made significant contributions to the development of our country, occupying different leadership positions at different political eras.

“As we celebrate you on this special day, please accept my appreciation for your sustained co-operation and commitment towards the success of ECOWAS Peace Mission in Mali, where I serve as the Mediator. On behalf of my family, I wish you good health, peace, joy and long life.”

Lawan, while felicitating with Buhari, acknowledged his purposeful leadership, vision, courage and steadfastness in the pursuit of the right cause and common good.

“I join the multitude of fellow Nigerians and your other well-wishers across the globe in thanking Allah for His great gifts of good health and long life to you. This benevolence of Allah has enabled Your Excellency to continue to provide purposeful leadership to our country in this time of unprecedented challenges across the world.

“You are a leader, who has matched vision with courage and who is steadfast in his pursuit of the right cause and common good. Your Excellency, like most, who have worked with you, I attest that you are passionate about the unity, security and prosperity of Nigeria.

“This attribute, with the focused transformation of the nation’s physical infrastructure, social and economic reforms will enhance your legacy as a unique Nigerian leader.

“Our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is lucky to have you as our leader in this stage of its history. Your selfless and foresighted leadership has brought unity and cohesion to the party, and greatly contributed to making the APC the most freely embraced political platform in the history of Nigeria.

“Mr President, your leadership of Nigeria is a blessing to our dear country as it offers our people and institutions confidence in confronting the current challenges and in laying the foundation for sustainable prosperity.

“The National Assembly will continue to work with you in line with our shared vision and in the best interest of our dear nation,” Lawan says.

On his part, Gbajabiamila, said the president has done great things for Nigeria since he came to power in 2015 and should be celebrated by all well-meaning Nigerians on his birthday.

The Speaker, while lauding Buhari for putting Nigeria first before any other consideration, said at 79, the president has achieved a lot both as an individual and as a leader with uncommon character and integrity.

He expressed optimism that the president would do a lot more for the country in the remaining period of his administration.

“Mr President, Nigeria and Nigerians are proud of you. The way you have been steering the ship of the Nigerian state has been commendable. I, therefore, join millions of our compatriots to wish you a happy birthday and more years in good health,” he said

Also, Sanwo-Olu, in his congratulatory message, described President Buhari as a courageous and passionate leader, whose commitment to the growth and development of Nigeria is worthy of emulation.

In the congratulatory message by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, Sanwo-Olu said Buhari has provided honest and transparent leadership in the country, as well as demonstrated unparalleled leadership skills, patriotism, integrity and courage in steering the ship of Nigeria since he assumed office on May 29, 2015.

“You have contributed immensely to the unity, growth and development of Nigeria right from your youthful days till date, having served in different capacities as Minister of Petroleum Resources, Head of State and currently President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander -in- Chief of the Armed Forces.

“I hereby join family, friends, associates, leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in celebrating President Buhari’s 79th birthday. I wish our President more prosperous years in good health and wisdom as he continues to serve our dear nation,” the governor said.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, in his tribute described Buhari as a hero, who met Nigeria at the crossroads of socio-economic challenges, and has already left footprints on the sands of time.

In a statement by his Media Office in Abuja , Senator Ngige described the President as a colossus, who upon crossing the the Rubicon in 2015, retrieved Nigeria from a threatening morass, and set her on a fruitful march of socio-economic and political recovery.

“At crossroads in 2015, Nigeria needed a statesman, an honest leader with an undistracted focus on national rebirth and the lot fell on President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Six years in saddle, despite teething challenges, worsened by COVID-19 pandemic, which shut and brought the entire world on bended knees, Nigeria has trudged on, first through the Era of Change and now, the consolidation moment of the Next Level. Many projects met on ground have been completed, in some cases, expanded and new ones initiated.

“The incipient return to national food sufficiency, through the expanded horizon on agricultural production, and the arising job opportunities in the production value chains. The expansion of roads and railway infrastructures, illustrating the unambiguous commitment to national infrastructural rebirth, and summarized by the administration’s five legacy projects viz, the 2nd Niger Bridge, now 80% completed, the Lagos-Ibadan-Ilorin-Kaduna road, East-West road, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road and the Mambilla Project and more!

“The improving legacy of credible elections exemplified in abundance by the President, in the recent off-season elections in Edo and Anambra is at the heart of national revival. I’m therefore optimistic that by the time the President completes his term in 2023, Nigerians will look back with joy at the long standing commitment, steadfastness and sacrifices of this President,” he said.

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