President Muhammadu Buhari with former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon (image courtesy: State House)

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a congratulatory message to a former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, on the occasion of his 85th birthday.

The president’s message to Gen. Gowon is contained in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, on Friday.

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The statement read: “On behalf of the Federal Executive Council and all Nigerians, President Buhari warmly felicitates with former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, on his 85th birthday, October 19, 2019, describing him as a living legend and symbol of national unity.

“As Nigeria’s youngest leader since Independence, President Buhari affirms that Gen. Gowon’s visionary leadership style, wisdom and disciplined outlook kept the country as one, extolling the former Head of State for faith and steadfastness in God in times of adversity, and courageously pursuing the interest of majority Nigerians for a unified and stronger country.

“The President believes the elder statesman laid a solid foundation for the country to thrive, with the creation of federating units, and implementation of futuristic policies like the National Youths Service Corps, that has consistently served the purpose of fostering unity, harmony and expanding the horizons of young Nigerians for lifetime opportunities.

“President Buhari commends Gen. Gowon’s simplicity and humility, leaving the highest position in the country to return to school for further studies, and returning to provide wise counsels to leaders, encouraging good governance and setting up an organization, Nigeria Prays, that consistently upholds the nation in prayers.

“The President notes that the former Head of State has stayed relevant in Nigeria and beyond, and enjoys wide respect from far and near.

“President Buhari congratulates all family members, friends and close associates of the exemplary leader on the auspicious occasion of his 85th birthday, praying that the Almighty God will always remember his sacrifices for the nation, and grant him longer life, good health, and strength to keep working for the good of country and humanity.”