The first to give a goodwill message at the reception hall that sat over 5000 guests was former head of state General Yakubu Gowon, who also gave the welcome address as the chairman of the occasion. His words: 
“…I speak on behalf of those of us who are from the Northern part of Nigeria, to say that the celebrant is ‘Dan Kaduna.’ We’ve known him over the years when I was privileged to be in Ahmadu Bello University and the chairman of the Chapel. He used to come for revival meetings for the students. In those days, he was very active and focused, just as he is today. We always enjoyed his coming then. And the church in Kaduna was really a centre of celebration and worship. Since 1983 when we knew each other, one thing I love about him is that he is very consistent. When he cares for you, he does so consistently; even when I was away in politics, he never forgot about me; he has always prayed for me, always advised me, always directed me, always loved me. Sir, we thank you, we are delighted for this day, and as the banner behind you says, this is just the beginning. The Lord will continue to promote you, bless you, and make you a blessing to others. And may you continue to be my friend.”  

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