Prominent Nigerians, political parties and groups yesterday showered praises on the former head of state and the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 elections ahead of his 70th birthday tomorrow. Among those who sent goodwill messages to Buhari on the event are the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern States Governors' Forum (NSGF), the CPC and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
ACF General Secretary, Mr. Anthony N. Z. Sani, on behalf of the northern elders' group, said "ACF and my humble self are very happy to join Gen. #Buhari and his family and his well-wishers in the celebration of his 70th birthday.
Gen. Buhari is well known for his confidence, which comes with conviction, with courage, which goes with strength of character and with honesty, which comes with openness and transparency, all of which he deploys to change our ways of doing things for the common good."
He added that whether Buhari has succeeded or not is still a moot point, considering the fact that it took former United States (US) President Ronald Reagan at 70s "to make America feel young again and in the hope of glory days ahead.
May God help him (Buhari) and make it possible for him to live many more decades to celebrate same, in the worthy struggle needed to rewire the politics, to reengineer our sense of justice, to make mercy smarter, make hope more strategic and to change our ways of doing things for public good. Again, happy birthday, Gen. Buhari."
The NSGF said the former military leader has lived a disciplined and purposeful life. Its Chairman and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, described Gen. Buhari as a thorough bred professional and an astute administrator, whose regime set the country on the path of growth and development.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, Governor Aliyu said as head of state, Gen. Buhari demonstrated uncommon courage, vision and exemplary leadership resulting in development of critical sectors of the nation's economy. "There is no gainsaying the fact that Gen. Buhari left legacies in all the sectors of the economy with marked transparency and accountability in the management of resources," the statement added.
The CPC also described Buhari as a beacon of hope for the country. According to the party in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Eng. Rotimi Fashakin, Buhari is a patriot whose qualities are rare in the nation's polity bedevilled by unbridled corruption.
The party said the Daura-born leader has distinguished himself in public service by virtue of the string of achievements he recorded in various national assignment he has had opportunity of carrying out both as a soldier and later as a civilian.
Fashakin added that nothing would be too much in celebrating "an admirable Nigerian Patriot, whose values remain rarity in a clime bedevilled with sleazy and hopelessly selfish leaders. It is note-worthy that the trajectory of GMB's public service - which traversed various capacities such as military commander, state governor, minister, head of the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund and also head of state."
Also, the ACN said the life and times were a study in integrity, discipline and service to mankind. In a statement, ACN National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said Buhari possesses some rare and exceptional character and virtues that stand him out from other leaders in the country, such qualities he stated are in such a short supply in the country.
"Whatever anyone may say about him; Gen. Buhari's name evokes such rare attributes as personal integrity, discipline, uprightness and incorruptibility. Even his critics cannot deny that he stands tall, even taller than his imposing physique, as far as character and principle (which his critics will rather call inflexibility) are concerned," the party wrote.
Mohammed further stated that the occasion of Buhari's 70th birthday, provides the best opportunity for Nigerians to use leadership opportunities provided by God as a platform for service to the people rather than for personal enrichment.
"From his various perches as minister to governor to head of state, not even counting stints at the NNPC and the Petroleum Trust Fund, Gen. Buhari succeeded in showing that being appointed to public office should not be seen as an invitation for anyone to 'come and eat' but to come and serve!," he said.