By Ali Abare Abubakar
The frontline governorship aspirant in Benue State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prof. Steve Torkuma Ugbah, has congratulated the APC Presidential Candidate, Come 2015, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) on the occasion of his 72nd birthday anniversary.
Buhari, a retired general and Nigeria’s 7th Head of State, emerged as the presidential candidate of the APC last week when he defeated four other aspirants in what former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (himself an aspirant) hailed as the “the most transparent primary election so far.”
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, and signed by his Media Adviser, Simon Imobo-Tswam, Ugbah described the APC presidential candidate as “the Peoples’ General,” and pointed out that in a country where life-expectancy was about 50, due to poverty, ill-health and rising insecurity among other unsavory indices, it was a measure of divine grace that Buhari has lived to see his 72nd birthday.
His words: “On this great and joyous occasion of your 72nd Birthday, I, Prof. Steve Torkuma Ugbah, wish, on behalf of my Governorship Campaign Organization, my Political Family, myself and my family, to heartily congratulate you, the Peoples’ General, on attaining the ripe age of 72. We pray God Almighty to give you many more years of active and fruitful service to the Fatherland.
“In a country where life expectancy still hovers around 50 years, due largely to excruciating poverty, malnutrition, a dysfunctional health system and rising insecurity (all which derive from leadership failure and mediocrity in high places), it is a measure of God’s love upon your life that you crossed the 70th threshold, and have today seen your 72th birthday, which I may call a bonus. As is the convention, I pray that may God give you the desire of your heart.
“God does not bless us for nothing nor does He give us for the sake of giving. He blesses us so that we can be a source of blessing to others, and when He gives us, it is so we can give others. In other words, when God blesses us, He intends that we be channels of blessings unto others. This means the bonus on your life, the extra years God is adding to you, are to enable you do something extra, something different, in our country.
“It is in this light that I see your victory in the just-concluded APC Presidential Primaries. I suspect strongly that our great party and her teeming supporters nation-wide are aligning with what may turn out to be the Hand of God in your life. If this be so, I say: May God’s will be done in our nation, and may the Voice of the People be the Voice of God.”
He went on: “In 1942 when you were born, the Nigeria Reconstruction Group (NRG), was formed, with the goal of x-raying the nation’s problems and proffering solutions to same. In that group were Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, M.A. Balonwu, M.E. Okorodudu, I. A. Onajobi, and E.E. Esau among other nationalists.
“It is no coincidence today that 72 years after, we Nigerians, both within and outside our party, the APC, are desirous of giving you the task of Recovering our country from an overwhelmed leadership, Reconstructing her ruins, Re-positioning her on the path of sustainable development as well as Re-invigorating we the people to reclaim the promise of our destiny.
“But the year 1942 does not only have local significance: it has international import too. It was in 1942 that 26 countries came together and agreed to create the United United (UN) so as to save the world from incessant wars and upheavals.
“Today, it is significant that as you stand on the wings of destiny, poised to rescue Nigeria from the brink of disaster, retrieve governance from the rungs of mediocrity, steer governance from proclamations to actions, and give Nigeria the quality government it deserves, you have no less than 26 states of the Federation lining up behind you.”
“On this note, I say: Happy Birthday, the Peoples’ General. Your 72 Hearty Cheers will echo and reverberate till May, 29, 2015,” he concluded.