*Photo R-L: Obasanjo, Diri *
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described Bayelsa as a special state and pledged to continue to support its developmental efforts, which he said are on course.
The two-time Nigerian Head of State spoke at his Abeokuta, Ogun State residence during the visit of Governor Douye Diri to felicitate with him on his 85th birthday.
The foremost elder statesman thanked the Bayelsa governor for the visit and commended him for steering the ship of the state in the right direction. He said despite being a small state in terms of population, his desire is to see a Bayelsa that is beautiful, powerful and that cannot be ignored. His words: “Bayelsa State is a special state. What I have coveted and strived for Bayelsa is what we are getting today. “Small but beautiful, small but powerful, small but cannot be neglected. That is the hope that I have worked with. It has not been easy but with positivity and God directing, we have laid a foundation with your predecessors.
“For now, I want to say your state is comparatively quiet, peaceful, secured and we cannot know this and not sample it as an example for other states in Nigeria.
“You have what it takes in human and non-human resources. You have what it takes in experienced people, men and women. You have what it takes even in people of Bayelsa in the Diaspora in terms of their enterprise and commitment. What we desire for your state and, by extension Nigeria, we pray they are realised.
“While thanking God for his life, the former president said it was a privilege and special grace of God to be born and to live up to 85 years in a country like Nigeria.
“Whichever way one looks at it, 85 years on earth in a country like Nigeria, born at the time I was born, in the situation I was born, one must regard It as the great grace of God. So, I thank you for being here to share with me in thanksgiving,” he said.
Earlier, Governor Douye Diri said as a father to all, the birthday of the octogenarian leader cannot be taken for granted by his children. Governor Diri explained that the purpose of the visit was to felicitate, rejoice and pray with him on his birthday.
“As your children, your birthday is something we cannot take for granted. So, we came to see you as our leader and to felicitate with you on your birthday.
“Your Excellency, we came in to pray and to say that God will continue to lead you, keep you for us and continue to give you the wisdom to advise us in order to keep our country together.
“Baba, God loves you and we love you too. That is why we came to felicitate with you as your children and also pray for you,” Governor Diri said.