By Bashir Adefaka
A former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola (SAN), and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, are among eminent Nigerians who seized the opportunity of the 62nd birthday of the Sultan of Sokoto and Sarikin Musulumi of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, on Friday, to pay tributes to the leader of the Nigerian Muslim community.
Others who also wished the monarch well are a former Minister of Communication, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Attah of Aiyede Ekiti, Oba Alhaji AbdulMumini Adebayo Orisagbemi and veteran journalist and former Chairman, Editorial Board of Vanguard Newspapers, Alhaji Kola Animasaun.
Abubakar, as a devout Muslim, does not mark his birthday but the occasion continues to provide opportunity for people to pay tribute to him.
In his congratulatory message to the retired Army General, Dogara described the Sultan as one of Nigeria’s most outstanding promoters of justice, unity, peace and harmony.
He said the royal father has endeared himself to all Nigerians of goodwill, regardless of cultural, religious or political persuasions, owing to his relentless pursuit of peace and ethno-religious harmony among the diverse people.
The Speaker’s words, “As a spiritual leader and traditional ruler, you have over the years, distinguished yourself as an exemplary leader, traversing the length and breadth of the country, preaching peaceful co-existence and building bridges across religious and cultural divides.
“I join your well-wishers and other well-meaning Nigerians in appreciating and commending your role in fostering mutual understanding, intra and inter religious harmony as well as your humanitarian services across the country.
“You have indeed proven yourself as a true man of peace and promoter of justice, national cohesion and global peace through words and deeds.
“As you mark your 62nd birthday anniversary, I pray God Almighty to grant you good health, more wisdom and peaceful reign”.
The felicitations were compiled in a report by The DEFENDER, an online newspaper that keeps track of notable events surrounding eminent Nigerians.
Ajibola, who is also retired Judge of the World Court at The Hague, was happy that the Sultan, whose 60th birthday two years was marked with glamour by well-wishers, had witnessed yet an added year.
He said, “We are all happy witnessing His Eminence’s 62nd birthday anniversary just like we witnessed his 60th and 61st. We pray to Almighty Allah to continue to strengthen and grant him the wisdom to continue with the great job that he is doing for Muslims and Christians as well as the traditional communities in the country.”
The proprietor of Crescent University Abeokuta, Ogun State (CUAB) equally sent the best wishes of the university to the amiable leader who is a recipient of the university’s honourary doctorate degree.
The DEFENDER reports that Olanrewaju would not forget in a hurry the memory of the football days that he and Abubakar spent together at Jaji during their course in the Nigerian Army, both of them being fantastic footballers.
Ojudu also came to be counted among the well-wishers who sent their goodwill messages to the Sultan on his birthday.
“Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar is a leader that I so much admire and I will continue to be proud of, for his great job that he has done for the peace, unity and progress of Nigerian nation and humanity,” the presidential adviser said.
Oba Orisagbemi, in his own message, said, “I am very happy to be identified with His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar as my spiritual leader. I wish him a happy birthday and many more years ahead in the service of Allah and humanity”.
A former Chairman, Editorial Board of Vanguard Newspapers, Animasaun, also greeted the monarch at 62.
The author of Voice of Reason said, “I wish His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III more blessed years alive.”
By our checks, the Sultan would rather offer prayers to Allah, thanking Him for the great things He has done for him over the years and supplicate him for more.