By Dapo Akinrefon
LAGOS-FORMER Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olabode George, yesterday, congratulated former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (retd) on his 81st birthday describing him as a visionary leader.
George, a retired Naval Commodore who was Military Governor of old Ondo State (1987-1990) during Babangida’s years as Military President, described the Minna, Niger State-born General as a ‘visionary leader whose contributions to national development is unmistakenly patriotic and selfless.
George said the former Military President shaped the political and economic development of Nigeria dynamically.
He said: “I am happy to have learned under you as a Military Governor and in other military postings. As Military President, 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 to 30. You also created many agencies to spread development across the country.”
George said 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 the 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 a civil war erupted in that country.
“I join millions of your admirers to celebrate you as you clock 81 years. I wish you good health in the years ahead and more celebrations in the future.
“In the journey of life, no human being is perfect. We all strive to achieve the best. Sometimes, we win some, we lose some. In my assessment, history will be very kind to you. Happy birthday sir”, he said.