By Wole Mosadomi, Festus Ahon & Ochuko Akuopha,
ABUJA— President Muhammadu Buhari; former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; Governors Ifeanyi Okowa and Sani Bello of Delta and Niger states, respectively, yesterday, poured encomiums on ex-Head of State, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, on his 75th birthday, describing him as a great nationalist.
While the President in a congratulatory message personally signed by him, appreciated IBB’s lofty feats during his regime, especially his effort at keeping the country together as one, with his imprints resonating everywhere, Atiku said one of the greatest legacies of Babangida’s government was giving Nigeria two political parties to stabilise the country’s electoral system.
Similarly, Governor Okowa described Babangida as a towering nationalist whose impact as President was still being felt in the country, even as Governor Bello saw him as an indispensable leader and adviser.
The President wrote: “On behalf of myself, my family, the government and people of Nigeria, I wish to heartily congratulate you on the milestone of attaining 75 years.
“I equally wish to congratulate you on your service to the country, and your commitment to oneness and indivisibility of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There is hardly any major episode in Nigeria’s short history where your name and contribution does not feature.
“On this special occasion, I pray that Almighty Allah grants you many more years to see Nigeria grow and develop beyond all of our wildest dreams.”
His greatest legacy is giving Nigeria 2 political parties
On his part, Atiku said Babangida used two political parties, Social Democratic Party, SDP, and the National Republican Convention, NRC, to stabilise the country’s electoral process in 1993.
The former vice president, in a congratulatory message to Babangida, signed by his spokesman, Paul Ibe, said Babangida, at 75, deserved accolades for his contributions to the development of the nation.
“One of the greatest legacies of IBB is giving the country a manageable number of political parties by reducing them to two,” he said.
Atiku added that by allowing only two political parties, Babangida reduced waste of resources through financial support from the country’s electoral commission.
He also said following the conception of the Federal Capital Territory by Murtala Mohammed, the late head of state, Babangida facilitated the rapid development of the city.
A towering nationalist—Okowa
Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, described Babangida as a towering nationalist whose impact as President was still being felt in the country.
Okowa, in a statement to commemorate Babangida’s 75th birthday, said: “IBB created Delta State in 1991 and as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the creation of our dear state, we remember his astute and sagacious contributions towards the realization of our dream state.”
The governor, in the statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu, said: “IBB is an icon, a nationalist whose impact as President is still being felt in the country and in the diaspora.
“He occupies a special place in the hearts of government and people of Delta State because, but for his interest in enthroning an egalitarian society, where love for the nation supersedes personal interest, Deltans would have still been agitating for their state.
An indispensable leader, adviser— Sani Bello
Similarly, Governor Sani Bello of Niger State described the former Nigerian Military President as an indispensable leader and adviser.
The governor in a congratulatory message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Jibrin Baba Ndace, said the former leader had continued to remain relevant in the Nigerian project.
He said: “Former Military President Ibrahim Babangida has remained a good man, a father, a role model and a pride to Nigerlites in particular and Nigerians in general.
“The role he has been playing towards the consistent growth and development of this country in general and Niger State in particular are unquantifiable. His dogged commitment to the corporate existence of Nigeria as one indivisible country has been unique and unparalleled.”