Nigeria marks 59th Independence Anniversary at Presidential Villa

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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President Buhari signing the anniversary register with him (L-R) is Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila amongst others.

The Nigerian Government has celebrated the nation’s 59th independence anniversary at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The colourful event, which took place at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa, right in front of President Muhammadu Buhari’s office, featured Presidential change of guard from 177 guard battalion to 7th battalion of the Guards Brigade, marking the occasion.

The celebration was the first under the second term of the administration of President Buhari.

The ceremony, which lasted for over one hour, started around 09 hours GMT with the arrival of dignitaries, which included Vice President Yemi Oisnbajo, President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Ministers and Diplomats.

President Buhari was ushered into the venue by 08.59 GMT, soon after inspecting the quarter guards.

He then walked to the Villa forecourt to receive national salute which was followed by a rendition of the Nigerian National Anthem.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was ushered into the venue earlier, at around 08.55 GMT while the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, was ushered to the venue by 08.46 GM, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, got to the forecourt four minutes earlier.

Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) and two former Vice Presidents, Namadi Sambo and Oladipo Diya also graced the occasion.

At the ceremony were the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole.

The event witnessed change of guard dressing of the new guard by orderly sergeant Solomon Ibrahim, inspection of the new Guard as well as the Quarter Guard, silent drills, colour patrol, which comprised the national and regimental colours (flags) as well as the posting of sentries and weapons and uniforms inspections to ensure conformity with military standards.

Next on line at the speechless event was the signing of the anniversary register and the release of 59 pigeons by the President, signifying peace and freedom.

The President later cut a giant independence anniversary cake, with the number 59 well placed on it.

He was assisted by the Vice President, President of the Senate, Speaker, House of Representatives, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation among others.

The ceremony also featured the ceremonial 21 gun salute, in honour of the country’s fallen heroes.

The low-key celebration on Tuesday replaced the full military parade, drills and entertainments which used to hold at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

Since 1st of October, 2010 when the anniversary celebration witnessed bomb blasts at the Eagle Square, Abuja, the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan had marked all subsequent anniversaries under his administration at the Presidential villa, Abuja.

But the Buhari’s administration broke the jinx by marking the 58th Independence Anniversary last year at the Eagles Square, Abuja.

There was a special Muslim prayer at the National mosque on Friday September 27 and an interdenominational church service at the National Christian Centre Abuja on Sunday September 29, all in commemoration of this year’s independence anniversary.

 

Sammie Idika