THE culture of low key Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary continued on Saturday with President Muhamadu Buhari presiding over celebrations inside the Presidential Villa rather than at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
The last time events marking the day were held at Eagle Square, its usual venue, was in October 1, 2010 under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration but were marred by car bombs allegedly planted by operatives of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
Since then, his administration was forced to observed the day with just a live broadcast and light celebratory activities on the forecourt of the Presidential Villa.
Last year, President Buhari also celebrated his first Independence Anniversary in a similar fashion, restricting himself to a broadcast and light activities in the Villa.
On Saturday, the major activity on show was the Change of Guard Parade, 21 Gun Salute, Buhari’s signing/presentation of Anniversary Card preceded by Christian and Muslim prayers for the country.
These were followed by the release of pigeons by the president, cutting of anniversary cake and light refreshment.
Among the dignitaries who witnessed the ceremony were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Vice Presidents, Alex Ekwueme and Namadi Sambo who was visiting the villa for the first time since May 29, 2015 change of administration.
There were top government functionaries, party officials and members of the Diplomatic Corps.