By Idowu Abdullahi,
The former Vice President and one time presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, has hailed his principal, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as a great intellectual politician and national activist who’s prescence has blessed the country and brought development in all areas of life for Nigerians.
Atiku who lauded the elder statesman, stated that he was an avid leader and a great democracy crusader who had fought battles on field and in political spheres for the peace and development of his race and of his beloved country, and that he had stood as a shining example to politicians such as himself, on what a true elder statesman should be.
He made his sentiments known in a personal tribute written to felicitate with Obasanjo on occasion of his 83rd birthday, stating that no single individual, living or dead, had fought for Nigeria and Africa’s well being through times of peace or war, in times of austerity and prosperity like the former president had.
In the tribute which was released to newsmen on Wednesday, Atiku praised the retired General’s courage, strenght and patriotism, and that such qualities had kept him vested in affairs of the nation with aim to leave behind a better, more successful and well developed nation for coming generations, an act which he described as selfless and patriotic, adding that despite his age, Obasanjo still weighed in on national matters and always stood in support of masses.
The top politician expressed gratitude at having been able to meet the octogenerian and learn statesmanship from him, adding that his values, temerity and honesty were rare qualities which made him stand out amidts other elder statesmen.
“It is not an exaggeration to describe you as the preeminent political colossus in Nigeria, a nation that owes so much to you. Indeed, many Nigerians would read about your birthday on their GSM devices, which are one of your legacies to the Nigerian people,”
“Your love for Nigeria and commitment to her unity, good governance and stability has prevented you from retiring, a sacrifice that my family and I deeply appreciate. From The Congo, to South Africa, to Angola, to Liberia and São Tomé and Príncipe, your democratic finger prints on the African continent is indelible. You have served and still serve as a beacon of democracy and a guardian of constitutionality”.
Atiku recalled how Obasanjo had led and effected payments of foreign national debts, despite public opinion that such could not be done, as well as his bringing of hand held mobile phones into the country among other notable developments achieved under his watch as Nigerian president and said that the elderstatesman had, during his time, laid strong foundations for development of the country and well being of its people.
“You hold the enviable and esteemed record of being the first African military ruler to have voluntarily, and without internal and external pressure, restored power to the government democratically elected by the Nigerian people. It was Not Your Will to be in office, but it was your will to bequeath democracy to Nigeria. And after 21 years of the Fourth Republic, Nigeria has cause to celebrate your democratic credentials”.
Atiku called on all politicians, irrespective of party affiliations, to learn from Obasanjo and style themselves after his characters of truthfulness, peace seeking and patriotic will to do what was best for the nation.