Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja, with agency report

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the first Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC)  and former governor of Osun State, Chief Abdukareem Adebisi  Akande on his 8oth birthday.

In a statement by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the president said he joins all APC members, Akande’s family and friends in congratulating the elder statesman “for the laudable achievements over the years, which threw him into the limelight at an early age, particularly highlighting his sacrifices in public service at both state and national levels.”

As the first Interim chairman of the APC, Buhari affirmed that the former governor’s pivotal and visionary leadership prepared the party for history in 2015, which saw it defeating an incumbent president for the first time in an election in Nigeria. President Buhari extolled Akande’s loyalty and faithfulness to the party and the cause of building a strong and unified nation, as he  consistently challenges governments and leaders to higher ideals, and reminds them to think out of the box in meeting the needs of the poor and vulnerable.

The president expressed the believe that the octogenarian’s good-nature, large heart and broad outlook on issues have impacted positively on party politics and democracy in Nigeria, praying that God will grant him longer life, strength and wisdom to serve more.

In a similar development, APC National stalwart and co-chairman of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, also congratulated Akande.

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In a statement by Tinubu Media Office, in Lagos, yesterday, the former Lagos state governor described Chief Akande as “a compassionate human being, an example of decorum in any circumstance, and a principled leader, possessed of profound judgment and a sage’s wisdom.”

The APC leader said without Akande, the party might never have come into existence “and it certainly would not have experienced the quick success it encountered.”

Asiwaju Tinubu also lauded Akande’s contribution to his Ila-Orangun hometown, his state, Osun, the Yoruba race and Nigeria.

He added: “This high principled leader, Bisi Akande, stood as a father figure and mentor to many younger politicians across the country particularly in the South West. Because of his traits as an exemplary leader and mentor, many call him Baba awon omo ke ke ke, meaning the political father of the younger ones who come after him.

“He has shown that one can be successful in politics by being kind to all and making concern for the common person and for a just society one’s guiding vision. He is one of the most humane persons you could meet. To meet him is to like him. To know him is to admire Chief Akande and to be thankful that he is your friend and ally.

“Chief Akande is one of the few true associates of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Uncle Bola Ige around today…”