The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) found a rare occasion to join voices as they separately congratulated former President Olusegun Obasanjo who clocked 81 years on Monday.
Mr. Obasanjo was Nigeria’s military head of state between 1976 and 1979 and served two terms from 1999 to 2007 on the platform of PDP as the first president of the Fourth Republic.
He left the party in 2015 after openly supervising the shredding of his membership card and has claimed to no longer be involved in partisan politics.
But the PDP in a statement on Sunday by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, described Mr. Obasanjo as “an outstanding nationalist; a courageous and dedicated leader, who has made immeasurable sacrifices towards the development, stability and growth of the nation.”
The party said it remains proud of Mr. Obasanjo, who it said excelled as an international figure and made outstanding contributions toward global peace and development, particularly, in the African sub-region.
“Indeed, the PDP intensely celebrates former President Obasanjo who stands tall as one of the best performed Nigerian Presidents chiefly because his administration founded and anchored its policies and programmes on PDP’s people-based manifesto and ideology,” the party said.
”The PDP also commends Chief Obasanjo for his continued engagement on national issues, particularly his disposition against poor governance, corruption, bloodletting and confusion that now pervade the nation in our nearly three years under the incompetent and deceptive All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
“While we value Chief Obasanjo for his concerns for the political future of our nation, we note that our repositioned and rebranded PDP remains the only credible political platform for the much desired broad-based engagements among Nigerians and coalitions across board.
“Our party, the PDP, is more than prepared to salvage our nation in the all-important task of returning her back to the path of good governance, national unity and prosperity for all, come 2019.
“The PDP family therefore joins in celebrating Chief Obasanjo on his birthday, even as we pray God to grant him good health, wisdom and strength as he continues to be of service to our dear fatherland.”
Although Mr. Obasanjo recently excoriated the APC and its federal government and called for a third force to take Niigeria forward, the ruling party also commending Mr. Obasanjo’s leadership record.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Bolaji Abdulahi, APC on Monday said the former president inspired good governance.
“Our party joins family, friends, well-wishers and associates in celebrating the retired general who has emerged as a bastion of democracy, good governance and development in Nigeria and beyond.
“Chief Obasanjo has inspired a generation of Nigerians notably in the area of entrepreneurship, leadership and education, especially through his non-profit initiatives, the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) and the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.
“His legacy as President has continued to inspire good governance on the continent even after so many years and he remains an influential voice in different facets of our national life. As a true Nigerian patriot and statesman, Chief Obasanjo has over the years built solid bridges across political divides in the country, on the African continent and the world at large.”
“Our prayer is that Chief Obasanjo continues to age in health and wisdom as he contributes to the unending task of nation-building.”
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