Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, and a presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday called off a celebration organized to commemorate his birthday.
Atiku clocked 68 last Tuesday and his friends and associates organized a birthday celebration in his honour at the THISDAY dome in Abuja on Saturday.
However, Atiku told his associates that he was in no mood for any celebration with the triple blast at the Central Mosque in Kano, which killed over a hundred persons and injured over two hundred others.
“Because invitations have already been sent and guests have travelled from far and near, it was not possible to issue an outright cancellation,” said Paul Ibe, an official in the former vice president’s media office.
Mr. Ibe also said Atiku was actually a guest at the event, because it was organized by his friends and associate who invited him like any other guest.
“ His Excellency Atiku Abubakar arrived at about 8pm. He came into Abuja from Akure and he told the guests that he hardly ever celebrate his birthdays because they are always days of reflection for him.
“He however said he agreed to the celebration this year because his wife was called to the bar,
“However, as soon as he arrived and after the national anthem, he called for a minute of silence and also called on a Muslim cleric to offer prayers, followed by the Christian prayer by former Ekiti state governor, Segun Oni, for the repose of the victims of yesterday’s attack in Kano as well as similar attacks in Kontagora, Potiskum Mubi and Maiduguri in recent times,” Mr. Ibe said.
Mr. Ibe also quoted Atiku as telling the guests that “these are not the times for celebrations”.
He said Atiku called on all the guests to be steadfast in prayers for the return of total peace to Nigeria.
He added that the APC presidential aspirant then left the venue immediately after the prayers and his short remarks.
Mr. Ibe said the celebration was planned to be “full blown” before Atiku called it off.
Some of the guests at the venue of the celebration included the National Chairman of the APC, John Oyegun, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, and business mogul, Kekere Ekun.