It is with deep sense of humility that I stand in your midst today as Chairman of this milestone occasion to mark the 80′ birthday of a man among men. am indeed humbled by the honour given me to chair this occasion.

My humility stems from the fact that among the nation’s rich fountain of accomplished men and women, the organisers of this event and our dear Pa Abraham Aderibigbe Adesanya have found me worthy to chair this occasion which is one in a series of events to commemorate his glorious graduation into the sacred octogenarian club. Papa, congratulations!

Let me also note here that because of my respect and regard for this great man of high moral rectitude, I had to cancel my overseas trip to enable me b a part of this epochal event. More importantly, I am even more humbled by the fact that the man whose success story we are celebrating today was called to the bar in 1961, the year I was born. You can now appreciate why I always feel dignified anytime I have anything to do with this man.

To me, today’s occasion means more than a memorial for a great Nigerian whom God has blessed with the precious gift of longevity. Today’s event and in fact every other event that ushered our dear Pa Adesanya into the octogenarian club should provide us a basis to reflect on our past, reappraise the present and subsequently ponder the future of this country.

It should also provide us a template to assess our individual contributions to the development of this great nation. Pa Adesanya is too well known and I will not bore you with his life’s odyssey. But I will restrict myself to those things he did and is still doing which have distinguished him as a patriarch of the Yoruba nation and one of the respected statesmen of our time.

We are celebrating today a great teacher, a steadfast and fearless political activist, an astute unionist, a legal icon, a well-rounded politician and a stickler to equity and justice. Indeed, we are celebrating a man who has lived up to his name in all aspects of life.

As Abraham, he is the father of many; in this instance the Yoruba nation, just like Abraham in the Bible, the patriarch of mankind. As Aderibigbe which means the crown has found a place to stay, it is obvious to all of us that the crown has found a convenient place of rest on his head. I must emphasize here the saying that whom the crown fits, let him wear it. The crown of leadership fits Papa and he is gloriously and gracefully wearing it.

Let me also note here that in my political life, I have come to imbibe the ideals of equity, fairness and collectivism all of which form the political philosophy of Pa Adesanya, a true apostle and scion of the late Pa Obafemi Awolowo.

Today in the senate, I have applied these ideals in my leadership style and I make bold to say that this has helped me tremendously to achieve the stability and fiscal prudence we have in the senate now. I strongly believe in equity, fairness and collective responsibility. I have applied this in the running of the senate for close o two years and it has worked. I believe that the political space is big enough for all of us. I believe that no man, no matter how intelligent or intellectually endowed, has the monopoly of knowledge and wisdom.

This is the simple formula that shaped my leadership of the Senate. Today, I want to place on record that I remain one of Pa Adesanya’s admirers and students of political engineering. I am always enchanted by his political radiance, candour and ideals.

As a politician, he distinguished himself, abhorring politics of bitterness and violence while espousing and practising politics of national peace, national unity and respect for the fundamental human rights of every citizen.

Today when I reflect on the lives of the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Sir Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna of Sokoto), men who led a life of servitude and selflessness for the emancipation and sovereignty of Nigeria, I ask myself; what has happened to the legacies left behind by these men?

It is however comforting that we still have around us some loyal disciples of these men. Pa Abraham Adesanya clearly represents the whole essence of the life of the late Chief Awolowo. To me, the greatest achievements of the late Pa Awolowo was to have produced a successor. I believe that despite any man’s achievement, he would not be seen to have succeeded if he did not produce a capable successor. As we celebrate your 80′ birthday, Pa, I am sure that the spirit of the late Pa Awo would have more to celebrate because you have not disappointed him.

It is on record that the troika of Azikiwe, Awolowo and Sardauna believed in and nurtured the unity of Nigeria. This, indeed, is the challenge before every Nigerian especially Pa Abraham Adesanya and his generation. They should not relent in their commitment to ensuring that Nigeria remains a strong and united nation.

It is my belief that even our diversities are also a source of strength. I believe like the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto that the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us.

Pa, it is my prayer that you will not ieave this planet until you help raise a successor who will ensure not only the indivisibility of Nigeria but also that democracy and democratic cultures become the only option of governance in Nigeria. I say this because I am sure that you are not in a hurry to leave this planet.

I congratulate you at eighty.