Former President Muhammadu Buhari has hailed the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Gbadebo Dosunmu, as he clocks 80 on Thursday.
In a letter he personally wrote, Buhari hailed the Alake for standing by him during his relection in 2019.
The former president also shared fond memories of the monarch when they were both military officers.
Buhari who praised the Alake’s “loyalty and fidelity”, wished him “longer life, good health, and a more prosperous future on the throne of his fathers”.
Buhari said, “The Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo CFR, turns 80 September 14, 2023. And what eventful years they have been, filled with service to motherland, Nigeria, and to his people at Egbaland.
“I had the rare privilege of knowing the first class traditional ruler in our first calling as military officers. We even served at close proximity, as when fate thrust it on me to become military head of state between December 1983 and August 1985, the then Colonel Gbadebo served as Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to my deputy, Major General Tunde Idiagbon, who was Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters.
“Though he was royalty, having been born as a Prince with the possibility of ascending to the Egba throne in future, the then Colonel Gbadebo had no airs about him. Rather, he subjected himself to the rigorous discipline of the military. No wonder he was able to rise from junior officer’s ranks to the senior level, before fate intervened, and he had to retire.
“Beyond working together at Dodan Barracks, the then seat of power, it is significant that I and the monarch retired from the army the same day, after the military coup that ousted our regime in August 1985.
“He went into private civilian life, maintaining his regal status, and eventually ascended the throne of his forefathers as the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland.
“There are fair weather friends, who stay with you only when things are smooth and jolly. Not Oba Gbadebo. He has remained with me through thick and thin, smooth and rough times. I salute his sense of loyalty and respect.
“Before and all through my 8 years as President of Nigeria, Oba Gbadebo showed uncommon loyality and fidelity, for which I thank him. I remember the principled position he took on the 2019 election that brought me into second term in office, standing even against his prominent kinsman and prominent
Nigerian. The Oba said: ‘I am part of the campaign team soliciting that Buhari should be given another chance to lead for another four years to complete the great work he has started. Those who drafted the Constitution to allow for a second term have envisaged that while a leader takes time to formulate policies and put programmes in place, he needs more time for them to germinate before they begin to translate such to benefits for the people.
Unfortunately, policy somersault has become a prominent feature in the history of governance in the nation. When a leader goes after four years virtually everything he has done will be turned over by whoever comes after and we can no longer afford this wastage.’
“Like they say, the rest is history. Nigerians massively voted me into office fo
a second term.
“As Oba Gbadebo turns 80, I wish him longer life, good health, and a more prosperous future on the throne of his fathers. Egbaland, where I first served as a young military officer, will continue to move from strength to strengt