President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated erstwhile Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, as he turns 85 years today.

He described Gen. Gowon as a living legend and symbol of national unity, praying that the Almighty God will always remember his sacrifices for the nation, and grant him longer life, good health, and strength to keep working for the good of the country and humanity.

In a statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, President Buhari extolled Gowon’s courage, visionary leadership style, wisdom, and discipline, adding that his outlook had kept the country as one.

According to him, Gowon laid a solid foundation for the country to thrive, with the creation of federating units, and implementation of futuristic policies like the famous National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), that has consistently served the purpose of fostering unity, harmony and expanding the horizons of young Nigerians for lifetime opportunities.

He described the country’s youngest leader since Independence as a people’s leader, adding that he courageously pursued the interest of the majority of Nigerians for a unified and stronger country.

The President also commends Gen. Gowon’s simplicity and humility for leaving the highest position in the country to return to school for further studies, and returning to provide wise counsels to leaders, encouraging good governance and setting up an organisation.

Also congratulating Gen. Gowon, Nigeria’s former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan described him as a courageous and patriotic leader.

In a goodwill message signed by Jonathan, he praised Gowon, calling him a diligent leader who held Nigeria together at a difficult period in the life of the nation.

“I rejoice with you and all your well-wishers as you mark your 85th birthday.

“You are a courageous leader who diligently served Nigeria with honour and love, especially at a difficult time in the life of our nation.

“Long after you left office, your passion and sense of patriotism have not diminished, as you have continued to work and fervently pray for our country’s growth and development.

“As a statesman, you have remained resolutely committed to the peace and unity of Nigeria.”


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