By Abayomi Adeshida, ABUJA
President Goodluck Jonathan has paid a tribute to his former boss, Late Governor Dipriye Alamiesagha who he credited as the one that encouraged him to always celebrate his birthday to give an opportunity to friends and family members to felicitate him and bless God for the opportunity to mark another season on earth.
The Former Leader spoke during the private get-together that was organized by his spouse, Former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan in Abuja. seized the opportunity to thank guests who came to join him from far and near.
While responding to the eulogies that were made for him during the event, President Jonathan said, “I have never celebrated a birthday before in my life until I became a Deputy Governor.
“It was my Former Boss, Late Alamiesegha who encouraged me to celebrate the event one certain year like that and that is because our dates are very close in the same month. He was 16th and I am on the 20th of November.
“You know that Niger Delta Governors know how to do everything very well, so, he used to celebrate his own in a big way, and I was not used to celebrating anything until a certain year when he observed it and asked me why I don’t celebrate.
“That year, he refused to celebrate his own very big as he used to do, but he then gave me some money and we marked it well that year.
“This morning, I came down in the morning at about 6 a,m,. and saw people already sitting and waiting to pray for me to mark the day.
“That means that those people must have woken up from their houses before 5:30 am and were able to get to my house before that time.
“And since that time up till this evening, we have been receiving visitors among of who were those serving Governors that just left here and Former Governor Dankwambo of Gombe State who is still with us here.
“I want to sincerely thank my wife who has put this together and thanks all for coming here without any announcement in the newspapers or any form of text messages to invite guests.” President Jonathan said.
Among those who spoke before the celebrant was the Former Governor of Gombe State who described the President as, ä boss of inestimable value and a huge asset to Nigeria.
Earlier after the cutting of the cake for the event, Former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan told guests to wait and witness the presentation of the customized card she made for the occasion.
Reading from the big card, she said, “My husband, my hero, my king, the father of my children.. I thank almighty God for choosing you to be my life partner.
“Not only are you the most loving husband a woman could ever wish for, but you are also my best friend.
“On this special birthday, I want to tell you how much I appreciate you in my life, it has been a blessing making this life journey with you.
“If I have to do it again my love, I would choose you to be my husband over and over, You are the best. happy birthday, darling.
“To, me, you mean the whole world and I love you more than words could ever express. May God bless you always, Happy Birthday.” Dame Patience read to loud applause from guests.
Many guests at the gathering were surprised to see a delegation of members of the Progressives Governors Forum as they arrived to celebrate with the Jonathan family.
Led by the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni; the delegation includes Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, and the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi.
The Governors were later joined at the event by a former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani who was accompanied by another stalwart of the All Progressives Congress party whose name could not be verified before the time this reporter filed this story.
Meanwhile, the evening gathering was also started with a prayer session by the Former Chaplain, Aso Villa Chapel, and Former Executive Secretary of the Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr. John Kennedy who arrived at the event in the company of the Chairman Tak Continental Ltd., Mr. Thomas Akoh Etuh.
The event was also graced by many former Ministers, including the former Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Idi Hong; Former Minister for Health who supervised the cure of Ebola in Nigeria, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu as well as the Former Minister of State for Solid Minerals Dr. Bekky Ketebu Igwe as well as Former Presidential aides led by the Former Chief if Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadomen, the Former Political Adviser to the President, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak among many others.
While presenting a plaque of honour as “Ambassador of Peace” to the Former President, Chairman Arewa Youth Vanguard, Abubakar Jibrin who was accompanied by the Secretary, Jamil Bala Muhammed, and the Director, Administration, Michael Marayesa described President Jonathan as a man of peace who’s exemplary leadership qualities are currently required for global peace.