Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has felicitated with former President Olusegun Obasanjo as he attains the age of 83.

Abubakar, in a statement issued on Wednesday, commended the contributions of Obasanjo to the development of Nigeria, the African continent and humanity.

He said that no individual living or dead had bestrode the Nigerian political space as positively and purposefully as Obasanjo had done, “for good and better, in peacetime and war, in times of austerity, and times of prosperity.

“It is not an exaggeration to describe you as the preeminent political colossus in Nigeria, a nation that owes so much to you. Indeed, many Nigerians will read about your birthday on their GSM devices, which are one of your legacies to the Nigerian people.

“Your love for Nigeria and commitment to her unity, good governance and stability have prevented you from retiring, a sacrifice that my family and I deeply appreciate.

From the Congo to South Africa to Angola to Liberia and São Tomé and Príncipe, your democratic fingerprint on the African continent is indelible.

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You have served and still serve as a beacon of democracy and a guardian of constitutionality.

Abubakar said Nigeria owes Obasanjo a debt that Nigerians could not pay. He said that the former president led Nigeria to pay its foreign debts that the citizens could not imagine paying.

“By that singular action, you planted trees for generations yet unborn. You hold the enviable and esteemed record of being the first African military ruler to have voluntarily, and without internal and external pressure, restored power to the government democratically elected by the Nigerian people.

“It was not your will to be in office, but it was your will to bequeath democracy to Nigeria. And after 21 years of the Fourth Republic, Nigeria has cause to celebrate your democratic credentials.

“Happy birthday President Obasanjo. You are beloved now and forever,‘’ said Abubakar.