Shagari,  Obasanjo, Jonathan, IBB Saraki, Dogara Shun Nigeria’s  Independence Rally 

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Former Presidents Shehu Shagari, Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan,  Ibrahim Babangida, the Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, were absent at a parade organised to commemorate Nigeria’s 58th Independence anniversary on Monday.
The venue of the parade was the Eagle Square, at the Three Arms Zone, Abuja.
The strictly military event was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, two former military heads of state: Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar
and other prominent personalities.
Also in attendance at the parade was the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
On arrival at the venue, Buhari first took the national salute before moving to inspect the parade in a motorcade.
He later returned to the VIP stand to join Osinbajo, Onnoghen, Gowon, Abdulsalami and other dignitaries.
The event featured match past by military personnel, policemen, officials of the Nigerian Customs Service and Nigerian Prisons Service as well as those of the Nigerian Legion and members of the National Youth Service Corps.
There were also displays by policemen, men of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force.
Highlight of the displays included the aerial display by men of the NAF.
The display featured 22 aircraft out of which 18 were said to have been acquired under Buhari’s administration.
The Independence Day anniversary event was the first elaborately celebrated since 2010 anniversary.
The 2010 event, under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which marked the nation’s 50th independence anniversary was marred by bomb blasts allegedly masterminded by members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.
Since then, the government has observing a low-keyed celebration with the October 1 event holding at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Meanwhile, the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has said the country has every reason to celebrate.
Speaking to Journalists at the Eagle Square, Abuja, soon after the grand finale of events commemorating this year’s celebration, said: “We have to be reflective with this particular situation. The last time we had such a celebration was in 2010, which was our centenary celebration so for the last eight years we have not had any major celebration and we felt strongly that we are loosing trend with our tradition and our history. A child born seven years ago has no idea whether we celebrate our national day so I want us to look at this particular incidence today with retrospect and appreciate the fact that we have come a long way and God has been faithful to us as a nation.”
Mustapha praises President Buhari for adequately addressing security challenges confronting some parts of the country by taking the needed steps.
“Most of the equipments our military boasts of today especially those displayed during Monday’s celebration were acquired during this tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari. As you heard from the Airforce commentator, President Buhari that about 23 war planes have so far been acquired so it means that in the last couple of decades we‘ve not paid much attention to the acquisition military hardware to effectively be able to fight the insurgency and other forms of security challenges that we have had in the country.
“Now that we are acquiring more, you can see that there is relative calm in the North-East. Even the banditry in the North-Central and North-Western areas is being checked effectively and I believe it will be a continuous thing because the problem keeps propping up but as that happens, we will deal with the problem,” he assured Nigerians.
The SGF assured that government would not relent in dealing with any security challenge because “the primary responsibility of government is to secure this nation and provide for people to be able to pursue their various enterprises, it’s our responsibility and we will do that.”
Also speaking, Defence Minister, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (Rtd.) said the display of hardware by the country’s Armed Forces at the event showed the world that the military are capable of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria at all times.
“The military is the pride of the nation thus you need to showcase what you have and what you are capable of doing and what we displayed today shows our capability at all times,” he said.
Meanwhile some youths wearing black T-shirts took to the arena at the end of the celebration chanting solidarity songs in support of the President’s 2nd term bid.
Trouble however started when someone infiltrated the group and stole the telephone set of one of the youths.
Rather than submit the telephone set when he was caught, he drew out dagger to scare away those who tried to get the telephone set from him.
The situation almost turned ugly as they kept pushing and pursuing the thief for over 15 minutes.
They used stones freely on each other and a 15-year-old boy who was not so lucky sustained head injury as one of the stones landed on his head.
Some members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps at the venue stopped the bleeding when they administered first aid treatment.

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