Hon Minister of Information and Culture, Alh Lai Mohammed Speaks on President Muhammadu Buhari at 79


On the occasion of Mr President’s 79th birthday, I want to pay tribute to him for his service to the nation

President Muhammadu Buhari’s life has been that of unalloyed service to Nigeria, his country, and to humanity at large!

He has been almost everything there is to be in the service of the nation, and he has always given his all each time. Not once has he fallen short.

He has been a….

– Soldier

– Governor

– Minister

– Trust Fund Chairman

– Military Head of State

– Democratically-elected President (twice)

He fought a war to keep Nigeria together, and that explains his passion for the country’s unity.

It is said that everything happens for a reason. That Buhari is in charge of Nigeria at this time is not mere happenstance. His years in the military that saw him reaching the peak of his career; his various positions within and outside the military, his global exposure, his unmatched demeanor and, above all, his wisdom have all helped to stabilize Nigeria at the most difficult of times.

English Journalist Rudyard Kiplin, in his poem entitled ‘If’, could well have been writing about President Buhari when he wrote, inter alia:

“If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise…”

Indeed, President Buhari is a steady hand in troubled times, and that explains why, presiding over the affairs of the country at a most turbulent period, he has managed to keep the nation afloat, and even set it on a trajectory of growth and development.

Despite a myriad of security challenges, and amidst dwindling national earnings and a crippling global pandemic, he has racked up a number of achievements, most of them unprecedented: Let me just mention a few:

– leapfrogged Nigeria to the modern rail era.

– set the nation on the path of unprecedented infrastructural development

– Built the Second Niger Bridge that his predecessors only built on paper

– Gave Nigeria its first modern airport terminals in decades

– Provided social safety net for the poor

– introduced school feeding system that has helped push up school enrollment.

– Institutionalized measures to fight corruption through the strict implementation of TSA and the introduction of the Whistle blower policy, among others.

– Put Nigeria on the road to food self-sufficiency

– Saved states from collapse through generous bailouts that never toed party lines

– Empowered jobless graduates through the N-Power series

– Saw Nigeria through one of the worst pandemics in human history, with the economy still recording growth

– Restored our country’s respect and dignity in the comity of natioms, as you can see in the recent quick reversals of flight bans by the UK and Canada and the quick decision by the UAE to reverse itself on the number of slots given to a Nigerian airline.

– Upgraded military hardwares for our armed services and restored the respect of our gallant military


Like I said recently, his achievements may not seem too obvious now, especially with naysayers, sponsored attackers and desperate opposition politicians unrelenting in their craft, but posterity will surely be kind to this man, whose life has meant service to his fatherland, a man who goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning thinking Nigeria.

I believe God has a reason for keeping him alive when many had written him off as dead.

Happy Birthday Mr President, and thank you for your service to the nation.