President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Istanbul, Turkey, marked his 79th birthday with the cutting of a birthday cake shaped in national colours, green-white-green to start the day.
The President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, who confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja, said the Nigerian leader went straight to chair a planning meeting with officials in his delegation.
The president thereafter 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 would put in his best for Nigeria until the last day when, in 2023 he hands over to a successor.
The president added that he planned to return to his farm to tender crops and livestock while enjoying his retirement from State House.
He said: “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.”
The presidential aide revealed that as President Buhari stepped out of his suite moving to the meeting room, he 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.
He wished him a happy birthday, many healthy years ahead and the energy to give his best to the nation.
Onyeama noted in particular that the president had continued to have a good run with his health, getting better and more active with time.