Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday, felicitated with elder statesman, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, on the occasion of his 94th birthday.
Osinbajo’s virtual remark at Fasoranti’s birthday was made available to newsmen by his spokesman, Laolu Akande in Abuja.
He remarked that it was a special pleasure and privilege to celebrate “birthday with you all today’’.
“Papa, your birthday is first an opportunity to thank God for preserving your life for close to a century, 94 years and also that you are hale and hearty to hear and see for yourself, how truly appreciated you are.
“Truly, the Lord is to be praised!
“But perhaps, more importantly, we are gathered to celebrate a life of significance and to reflect briefly on what that might mean today.
“Papa represents a political tendency to which many of us here belong; that which was established by Papa Obafemi Awolowo, described by many as ‘progressivism’ or progressive politics,’’ the vice president said.
He recalled that Fasoranto was a part of the founding members of the Action Group and the various other iterations of that idea, the Unity Party of Nigeria and the Alliance for Democracy.
Osinbajo said the elder statesman had been at the forefront of propagating the idea, strategies and programmes, which recognised that the Nigerian person was the nation’s most important resource.
“That his or her physical, material, mental and societal welfare, must therefore be at the centre of all policies of the government.’’
According to him, the progressive tendency placed emphasis on free education, free universal healthcare, access to land and other forms of capital to own, to manage businesses, full employment and a robust social safety net for those without work or those who cannot work.
“But Papa was not merely involved in formulating ideas and strategies, he also played a practical role of working out how these programmes were to be paid for when he served creditably as Commissioner for Finance in the government of Papa Adekunle Ajasin in the old Ondo State, Osinbajo said.
He expressed joy that there was a plan to preserve a part of the incredible legacy by the establishment of the Reuben Fasoranti Centre for the Advancement of Democracy.
The vice president noted that the project deserved the support of all, individually and collectively.
“Papa, thank you for your life of exemplary public service and for the invaluable lessons that your existence has taught and will continue to teach.
“We pray that you will live even longer in excellent health, peace and joy while the Nigeria of your dreams will emerge.
“On behalf of the President and the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I wish you a happy 94th birthday.’’ (NAN)