Buhari, Gowon, Ekwueme, govs felicitate with Shonekan at 80
• Okoh urges action against killer herdsmen
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday sent a congratulatory message to the former Head of Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan on his 80th birthday.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari commended the elder statesman’s immense contribution to national peace and development, which he has exemplified as an accomplished administrator, astute businessman and a patriot.
“The President believes that the historic role played by the octogenarian in forging and maintaining the unity of Nigeria will continue to endear him to many. He assured that his administration would continue to look forward to his fatherly counsel and advice on how to move the nation forward.
“President Buhari prays that God Almighty will grant Chief Shonekan more years of good health and happiness to see the Nigeria of our dreams.”
At the birthday thanksgiving service for Shonekan in Lagos on Monday, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, urged President Buhari to speedily look into recent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in parts of the country.
Okoh, who made the call during his sermon, noted that the move would further cement the unity of the country.
According to Okoh, if nothing is done fast about the incessant attacks by herdsmen, it will impact negatively on the present administration.
“We appreciate President Buhari’s vigorous fight against corruption to solve the leakages in our national revenue and the determination to recover public funds and bring about a national rebirth.
“But, so that our national Anthem will continue to remain relevant— that the labours of our heroes past shall not be in vain— the new generation of herdsmen are not working for the interest of this administration.“The earlier they are disarmed, the better for the unity of this country.”
The Anglican primate said “Whether they are indigenous or foreigners, we urge the President that he should in his characteristic doggedness disarm and tackle these people, so that they will not ruin his administration.
“If communities are allowed to begin to make their own security arrangements, that becomes the end of this country.”
The cleric described Shonekan as a great man worthy of emulation for his distinctive contributions to human and national development.
“Chief Shonekan’s life at 80 is already defined because he has seen this country during the colonial, post colonial, independence and democratic eras.
“Therefore, the younger generation and politicians should tap from his wealth of experience and knowledge for progress of humanity and improvement of the society,” he said.
Chief Bode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) told NAN that Shonekan at 80 had been a beacon in the service of the country.
Also, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, a former Military Head of State, urged younger Nigerians to emulate the virtues of Shonekan to enable them contribute to the development of the nation.
Shonekan himself later said: “I thanks God for his mercies on me, that I am alive to celebrate my 80th birthday today with families and friends. I’m highly elated, “ he said.
Dr Alex Ekwueme, a former Vice President of Nigeria; Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Adebule, who represented Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, were some of the eminent Nigerians at the event.