Twenty four hours after former vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s 75th birthday was marked memorably in Bauchi, President Buhari finally acknowledged him.
The message was belated and it was commonplace, bereft of any warmth or affection, to the man who ran against him in 2019.
“Happy birthday and best wishes to Waziri Atiku Abubakar. I wish you good health and long life,” said the President.
The birthday wish was pushed out by Garba Shehu, a longtime Atiku aide, who is Buhari’s senior special assistant on the media.
To underscore how unimportant Atiku is to Buhari, the presidential message also greeted the former Military Governor of Kano State, Col Sani Bello (Rtd) who clocks 79 tomorrow.
“President Buhari said Sani Bello is counted among those leaders who left the military with the foresight and intellect to establish themselves in business”, Garba said.
There was no such accolade for Atiku, who left the Customs in 1989 to build a business empire outside of it.
Garba added Buhari wished both of them many Happy Returns.
In Bauchi on Thursday, Atiku who said he is not in the habit of celebrating his birthday, was given an occasion to remember.
He commissioned a road named after him and was also given a birthday party, along with a cake.
A palpably happy Atiku remarked about the event on Facebook:
“My visit to Bauchi today was memorable.
“I commissioned the Atiku Abubakar road named after me and also inspected some projects of the Gov Bala Mohammed-led administration.
“In addition, I paid a courtesy visit to the Emir of Bauchi, HRH, Dr Rilwan Sulaiman Adamu, and attended a birthday reception on my behalf.
“Thank you, Bauchi, for your hospitality”.
Of course, no thanks to Muhammadu Buhari!