Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo has described former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as an outstanding statesman who is dedicated to the ideals of national unity, peace and progress of Nigeria.
In a congratulatory message to the former President on his 76th birthday in Benin on Tuesday Oshiomhole said; “I am pleased to felicitate with Your Excellency and convey the good wishes of the Government and Edo people on this auspicious occasion of the celebration of your 76th birthday.
“I join your family, relations, friends, associates and admirers across the country to thank the Almighty God for preserving you and wish you excellent health and peace of mind,” he said.
Oshiomhole said that Obasanjo’s productive life had also been assiduously devoted to selfless service of Nigeria and the African continent.
He prayed that God would give him long life and the best of health to continue to be a mirror that all could look at to gauge their commitment to the principles of responsible leadership and good governance.
“We all must strive at different level of leadership to consolidate our young democracy.
“May you also enjoy this day in the full knowledge that you have paid your dues as nation builder and global statesman and have inspired many by your uncommon patriotism,” he said.
Also in Abeokuta President Good luck Jonathan, Tuesday, described former president Olusegun Obasanjo as “a true nationalist and promoter of national unity’’.
Jonathan made the remark in Abeokuta on Tuesday when he elogised Obasanjo on his 76th birthday.
Represented by Mr Mike Oghiadomhe, his Chief of Staff at Obasanjo’s birthday celebration, Jonathan said that Obasanjo was also “a true elder statesman and peace loving person.
“Your success are well placed in the history of our dear country, we celebrate with you as you continue to contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria.
“You demonstrated an unseal trait when in those years, military regimes were still fashionable; you shun the unusual temptation of regime extension to usher in democracy in 1979.
“You have served Nigeria diligently and with total commitment, when in 1999 after the unfortunate incidences in our country and the opportunity came and you were beckoned upon to serve as elected president.
“You did so with passion, introducing reforms in our socio-political and economic fronts with the determination and never give up the spirit of a true soldier.
“Nigeria is ever grateful for that, you indeed, remain a true lover of our democracy and our great country, committed to its ideals, sustainability and prosperity.
“Today, we all come here to reassure you of our admiration, trust and confidence as we continue to celebrate you as a true promoter of our nation’s ideals.
“Your glory has continued to grow greater and greater even after you left office. As I take my seat, I join other Nigerians in wishing you a very happy celebration,’’ he said.
Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun also described Obasanjo as “a special gift to the state, Nigeria and indeed, the whole Africa’’.
“Let me say this, that whether you love him or hate him, Baba is a true nationalist that laboured selflessly for the unity and progress of this country.
In his response, Obasanjo said that it was important for him to continue thanking God who had spared his life up to his 76th birthday.
“Whenever you pray, that is if you pray at all, just always remember to pray for me,’’ he requested.
The former president advised public office holders to be selfless in the discharge of their duties as well as being upright in whatever they do.
“If you are in public service and you expect commendation of men and women, you may be the most disappointed human being on earth.
“So, if commendation does come, take it as it comes and accept it and if it does not come, don’t worry.
“Some people had made it a point of duty to run this place (Presidential Library) down even before it started,” he said.
“One day, we were here and one man said he wanted to apologise, he said, he joined people to condemn the library without even knowing what it is all about.
“I told him that it does not really matter since God has not condemned us”.
The former president, who was full of joy, sang so many songs in Yoruba language to thank God, and restated his commitment to serve Nigeria, and indeed, humanity.
The event witnessed presentations of trophies to winners of Atrium competition, Inter Collegiate and Inter-University Debate on Human Security in Africa.
The occasion also witnessed the launching of a book, titled, “Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidential legacy 1999-2007’’, co-edited by Prof. Oladipo Akinkugbe and Alhaji Ahmed Joda.
Some former governors, ambassadors, and ministers, Messrs Femi Otedola, Jim Ovia and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, were among other important personalities and business tycoons that graced the occasion. [NAN]