President Muhammadu Buhari has described National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as a political strategist and a man who cared for the people.
He said the giant strides of Tinubu in governance are a reference point in development.
President Buhari spoke at the colloquium to mark the 66th birthday of Tinubu in Lagos on Thursday.
Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki and the ruling All Progressives Congress Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, were conspicuously absent at the event
Also absent at the programme were Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Tinubu’s benefactor, Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
The President congratulated Tinubu on his birthday and wished him all the best in his endeavours.
He restated the commitment of his administration to the advancement of the welfare of Nigerians.
In his speech, Vice President Yemi Osibajo said the government‘s social investment programmes had been largely successful as it had impacted on lives.
He attributed some of the successes to the free hand given to him by Mr Buhari as coordinator of the programme.
“I want to thank President Buhari for giving me the opportunity to coordinate the programme and the free hand to run the programme,” Mr Osinbajo said.
He said the programmes had done a lot to improve the welfare of Nigerians.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed said no fewer than 7.9 milllion Nigerians had benefitted from the government social investment programmes.
She said the beneficiaries were covered in such programmes as “The Free School Feeding Programme” and the N-Power” .
The Minister cited others as the National Cash Transfer Programme (NCTP) and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme(GEEP)
She reiterated the commitment of government to investing in people to improve their well being.
Among those who attended the ceremony include state Governors, Ministers, serving and former members of the National Assembly.
Captains of industry including Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia and members of the diplomatic corps also attended the programme.
The highpoint of the programme was when Senator Oluremi Tinubu (wife of the celebrant) joined her husband on stage to cut the birthday cake, creating a delightful spectacle.