*Special Birthday Message
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja congratulated the former military President Ibrahim Babangida on his birthday.
In a rare gesture despite a recent newspaper controversy about the coup of 27 August 1985, President Buhari showered encomiums on the man who toppled him and locked him up for months.
Babangida, former chief of army staff and president of Nigeria between 1985 and 1993. will clock 75 years on Wednesday. He led the coup that toppled Buhari, about 20 months after Buhari took over from the civilian regime of Shehu Shagari on 1 January 1984.
Buhari, in a congratulatory message, personally signed and addressed to Babangida, saluted Babangida for his “commitment to oneness and indivisibility of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’’.
The message was made available to newsmen by Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity.
He prayed to Almighty God to grant Babangida many more fruitful years.
The message read: “On behalf of myself, my family, the government and people of Nigeria, I wish to heartily congratulate you on the milestone of attaining 75 years.
“I equally wish to congratulate you on your service to the country, and your commitment to oneness and indivisibility of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“There is hardly any major episode in Nigeria’s short history where your name and contribution does not feature.
“On this special occasion, I pray that Almighty Allah grants you many more years to see Nigeria grow and develop beyond all of our wildest dreams.” (NAN)