The Federal Government on Saturday celebrated the nation’s 56th independence anniversary in a low-key fashion at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. There was also Presidential change of guard to mark the occasion. The celebration was the second in the democratic administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The ceremony, which lasted for about two hours at the fore-court of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, started around 10:00 a.m. It replaced the full military parade, drills and entertainments which used to hold at the Eagle Square, Abuja, before 2010. Since October 1, 2010 when the anniversary celebration was marred by bomb blasts at the Eagle Square, Abuja, the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan has marked all subsequent anniversaries in Aso Rock.
The event on Saturday started with the arrival of President Buhari, although he didn’t appear in the ceremonial military uniform as the Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces. He inspected the quarter guards before walking to the Villa forecourt to receive national salute which was followed by rendition of the National Anthem.
There was also 21 gun salute in the honour of the President.
The event witnessed the inspection of new Guard/Quarter guard, silent drills, posting of sentries and color parade, weapons and uniforms inspections to ensure conformity with military standards. Shortly after the ceremony, President Buhari signed the anniversary register, released pigeons from cage and was assisted by some top dignitaries to cut the anniversary cake.
The ceremony was also attended by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and Senate President, Bukola Saraki. A former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Vice Presidents Alex Ekwueme and Namadi Sambo, service chiefs and other top government functionaries and members of the diplomatic corps also attended the ceremony.