President Muhammadu Buhari clocked 76 years on Monday, and with just 60 days to the 2019 presidential poll, he asked for more time and prayers to fix Nigeria.
The President was 73 years old when he assumed office in 2015. Buhari spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, shortly after the 203-member Guards Brigade held a special parade to honour him.
The parade performance and rendition of birthday songs were adjudged the first elaborate birthday ceremony held for the President since 2015.
The event took place at the Fore Court of the Presidential Villa. Speaking with State House correspondents after he cut his birthday cake and the ceremony was rounded off, the President said he was impressed with his aides, who put the event together.
“Well, I am impressed with it, they ( aides) have put a lot of time behind it, I thank and appreciate them very much,” he said.
Looking ahead, Buhari said he would keep reminding Nigerians about the state he met the country in 2015 and where he had now taken it.
He explained, “We will keep reminding Nigerians about what we have done, how we met the country, what we have been able to do for the time we came in to now with the resources available to us.”
Buhari specifically appealed to Nigerians to give him more time and to pray for him.
“Nigerians should continue to pray for me and understand my intentions and give me time,” he said, as he switched to Hausa language.
On his part, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, expressed happiness that Buhari had remained healthy and strong.
The SGF said the President was ready to give more to Nigerians in terms of deliverables by his administration.
He added, “It is such an exciting time for us to share in this very glorious ceremony of the celebration of the 76th birthday of our dear President and our dear leader in a typical simplistic manner.
“It is just a simple military parade and the cutting of the cake because he has got work to do. He has just returned to the office to continue with the day’s proceedings; he came out of an event (the 2018 National Migration Dialogue), and then straight into this (birthday).
“But it is such a joyous and beautiful day to see him strong, healthy and hearty.
“Considering the health challenges he went through in the last two years, we cannot wish him any other thing but bountiful health and wisdom to take this country out of the present situation which we find ourselves, a trajectory of prosperity and progress.”
He described Buhari as a man with renewed spirit to work, adding that Nigerians should expect more from him.
“They (Nigerians) should expect a lot. The President is renewed in his spirit, strength and in his resolve and determination to put this country back on the part of greatness.
“That is his ultimate desire; that every Nigerian, young, old, generation unborn, should be able to press whatever desire they want to achieve in the nation that is so endowed with a lot of wealth, a lot of goodness, but have not been able to live up to expectations.
“There will be a lot that will be released in the next couple of days and Mr President is so strong and determined to hit the road and I can tell you by the time he starts, Nigerians will be able to have a lot to be thankful for.”
Meanwhile, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities on Monday wished Buhari long life and good health as he marked his 76th birthday.
The National President of SSANU, Mr Samson Ugwoke, thanked God for restoring Buhari to full health.
“We thank God for restoring the health of Mr President and we pray that He will continue to bestow upon him good health, wisdom and long life,” Ugwoke stated.
See more photos from the celebration below.