Mark: Tribute to the boss of bosses at 65
Amazing. The Swashbuckling young Major I met in June 1978 on the eve of my departure to Bauchi for the compulsory NYSC is 65 years ( born April 8, 1948). I recall your instant generosity to me at that first meeting when you promptly surrendered your hotel accommodation to me that “I should have at least one night of enjoyment since my suffering was going to start the next day”. That generosity has remained a feature of our relationship which resumed when I joined you in the Senate in 2003.
Looking back I should have taken full advantage of the opportunity of meeting you as you were to play remarkable roles in our unfolding political evolution. Interestingly I met you as Chairman, Abandoned Properties Implementation Committee trying to sort out the issues of abandoned properties as a consequence of the unfortunate Nigerian Civil War, and one of my most outstanding cases in the course of my legal career was to be NDOMA-EGBA v. CHUKWUOGOR in which the Supreme Court of Nigeria through Justice Niki Tobi's lead judgment finally judicially rested the issue.
From Minister to Military Governor under the Military dispensation of General Ibrahim Babangida in which you were a pillar and a very active player to dramatically become a democracy activist in the subsequent Abacha regime, earning you political exile and great personal pain. Your transformation has a parallel with the transformation of Saul to Paul.
Your conversion to democracy has been total. While you shed the adventurism of the politico-Military, you brought in the discipline of the professional Military to your current political life bringing consistency and predictability to your environment.
As a Senator you organized your colleagues; as an unprecedented two-term Senate President you have not only stabilized the Senate and therefore the polity especially at a critical time you have also given the Senate character. You have become one of the most outstanding figures of our democracy and its symbol of forthrightness and courage. You are a perpetual lesson in service and we are proud to learn at your feet.
At Sixty-five, we thank God for your life; a life of many stories; a life of service to man and to God; a life of fulfillment. We can only pray that the Almighty whom you have so faithfully served grants you many more years in good health so that you continue in your service to your Nation and humanity. Like wine you are only getting better with age. Happy birthday the Boss of Bosses.
Being a special tribute by Victor Ndoma-Egba, Leader of the Senate to the Senate President on the occasion of his 65th birthday