The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on, Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, has disclosed how the president marked his 79th birthday in faraway Istanbul, Turkey.
Recall that Mr Buhari is in Turkey to attend the third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit, hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey.
Releasing a statement on Friday, Mr Shehu said the President kickstarted the day with the cutting of a birthday cake moulded in national colours, green-white-green.
Thereafter, according to the statement, Mr Buhari went straight to chair a planning meeting with officials in his delegation from where they drove to the Dolmabahce Palace for a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Recep Erdogan.
In response to the tribute on the occasion on behalf of the ministers and the rest of the delegation rendered by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, President Buhari said he woul put in his best for Nigeria until the last day when, in 2023, he hands over to a successor and returns to his farm to tender crops and livestock.
“I thought that being away from Abuja I will escape these things. The Guards Brigade had written to tell me what they wanted to do on this day. Now here you are doing this far away from home.
“I look forward to the year 2023 when I finish, to go home to take charge of my farm. Between now and that time, I will do the best that is possible to advance the interest of the nation and its people, and carry out my duties as prescribed by the Constitution,” he said.
As he stepped out of his suite moving to the meeting room, President Buhari met a surprise lineup of the Nigerian delegation with a cake decorated in Nigeria’s national colours.
The group broke into a chorus, as they began chanting “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs who spoke on behalf of the delegation and the Ambassador of Nigeria to Turkey, Ismail Yusuf-Abba, congratulated the President on the good work he is doing for the country, and wished him a happy birthday, many healthy years ahead and the energy to give his best to the nation.
Mr Onyeama noted in particular that the President continues to have a good run with his health, getting better and more active with time.