Femi Aderupatan Hails General Abdulsalami Abubakar At 70
Our former president and great leader General Abdulsalami Abubakar is 70years old and Let's all wish him a very happy birthday, and may your troubles be less and your blessings be more. And nothing but happiness come through your door. At 70, Abubakar has remained a reference point on good governance, diplomacy and conflict resolution, not only in Nigeria but the world over.
General Abdulsalami Abubakar is a lucky man, one of the few military leaders in the world to get a crown without a coup. When he was chosen by his military colleagues to step into the shoes of General Sani Abacha who had just died suddenly, mysteriously, he was not exactly a happy man. Accoding to report, he thought of turning down the offer but he knew he could not forgive himself nor the nation forgive him. It was a call to national duty at a time of national distress. The country needed a man of peace, a fence-mender, a wound-binder, a man whose ambition was not vaulting, one who would steer Nigeria away from the knife-edge of danger.
The world loves a man of honour. Ghana gave him its highest honour, the Star Award; ECOWAS decorated him with its International Gold Medal. The America gave him the Reverend Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/Push Coalition Peace Prize. He also raked home the International Globalist Award for 1999.
At home, he has not been short of goodwill. He has represented President Olusegun Obasanjo at the inauguration of the Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade and received, on behalf of Nigeria, a peace award at Durban, South Africa, a few weeks ago. During the Sharia riots Abubakar went on a trouble-shooting mission to various parts of Nigeria.
Abubakar's profile is still rising like a meteor. He had the honour of being named Chairman of the Commonwealth Eminent Observers Mission to the Parliamentary Election in Zimbabwe. Leading a 44-person disparate group from 25 countries, Abubakar carried out the assignment with distinction, fairness and a sense of history which earned him showers of praise from the observers. If Abubakar donned all these honours and medals, his chest would look like a plate of fruit salad which would certainly illuminate his grey beard and moustache. Both have been neatly trimmed to give the picture of the circle at the centre of a football field. This must be his celebration of freedom from the tyranny of military discipline.
I'm equally proud of General Abubakar as our ambassador of peace beyond Niger State and Nigeria, especially his intervention as the head of the United Nations Missions to Congo Kinshasa in the year 2000, Sudan and Chad in 2004 and the restoration of peace in those countries. From the United States i wish you a Happy 70. I salute General Abubakar as one of the last great senior generals of all times.
I say happy birthday, Sir, at 70 and may God Almighty continued bless you with many more years of robust health, prosperity and continued distinguished service to our nation.
May the Lord grant you prosperity and longevity.
By Femi Aderupatan, Chariman /President Strategic Business Solutions Chicago, IL USA.