Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George, has felicitated former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, on his 82nd birthday.
Babangida was Nigeria’s 8th Commander-in-Chief from 1985 to 1993.George, a retired Commodore, was Military Governor of Old Ondo State from 1987 to 1990, during the Babangida years.
Describing Babangida as a patriot, visionary and selfless leader whose loyalty to Nigeria and contributions to national development cannot be questioned, George, the Atona Oodua of Yorubaland, said: “I want to boldly say, as my boss, that you have made invaluable contributions to the economic and political development of this country right from when you joined the Nigerian Army in the 1960s. Even today, you are still mentoring the younger generation to always add value to our democratic system. That’s why I strongly believe you deserve to be celebrated on your 82nd birthday.
“Becoming Head of State at a young age of 44, you shaped the political and economic development of Nigeria in a dynamic way.
“I am happy to have learnt under you as a Military Governor and in other military postings. As Head of State, you were bold, resolute, persistent, communicative, inspirational, magnetic, open-minded, innovative, imaginative, collaborative, resolute and goal-oriented.
“You set out concrete steps to achieve your administration’s specific goals. When you assumed office in 1985, you met 19 states but on September 23, 1987, you created Akwa Ibom and Katsina states. On August 27, 1991, you also created nine more states: Abia, Enugu, Delta, Jigawa, Kebbi, Osun, Kogi, Taraba and Yobe, bringing the total number of states in Nigeria then to 30. You also created many agencies to spread development across the country”.
“In particular, you built the 3rd Mainland bridge in my state, Lagos, which has immensely contributed to economic growth of Lagos, and Nigeria. This has left an indelible mark on you as a great Nigerian leader”.
George maintained that the leadership style of the octogenarian was defined by “persuasion, charisma and a high intelligence network. You also articulated a vision for the future by mobilising Nigerians toward a desired goal.
“The long-planned transfer of the federal capital from Lagos to Abuja was completed by your administration in December, 1991.
“You were also instrumental in stabilising democracy in the West African sub-region. An example was your use of ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) troops to restore stability in Liberia after civil war erupted in that country.
“I join millions of your admirers to celebrate you as you clock 82 years. I wish you good health in years ahead and more celebrations in the future”.