Against all odds, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday observed the 58th Independence Day parade at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
The last time the ceremony held at the Eagles Square was in 2010 under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. That parade in 2010 was marred by bomb blasts. Since that year, subsequent independence anniversary parade were held in low key at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, who already made national broadcast marking the 58th independence anniversary at 7am, on Monday broke the jinx and arrived the Eagles Square venue of the parade around 9.30am. But the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara were conspicuously absent at the Eagle Square.
According to the programme circulated to guests, they were listed to arrive the venue by 9.10a.m for the event. Saraki and Dogara have recently dumped the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Others who attended the ceremony included Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the former Heads of State, Yakubu Gowon, Abdulsalami Abubakar. Former military leader, Oladipo Diya and cabinet members also attended the parade.
There was inspection of guards by President Buhari, which was followed by march past in slow and quick time. There was also march past by para-military organisations, agencies and Nigeria Police Force (NPF) mounted troops.
Also on display were military equipment march past on low loaders Police dogs displaying the trainings they had acquired also thrilled the guests while outriders also displayed their skills. There was also aerial show by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
Recalled that while training for the aerial show, there was two jets crash on Friday, which claimed the life of one pilot and leaving two wounded survivors.
Rounding off the ceremony at the Eagles Square, there were firing of volleys and 21 gun salute by the military personnel. Before departing the venue, President Buhari signed the 58th Independence anniversary register.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the ceremony, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, said
“You have seen what we displayed today, we are capable of defending this nation.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, noted that the last time independence anniversary was celebrated in full was in 2010. According to him, a child born seven years would not have idea of how independence anniversary is celebrated in Nigeria.
He said that there is relative calm in the north east and checkmating of banditry in the North West and north central as a result of acquisition of more military equipment under the present administration. He urged Nigerians to be patient and trust the leadership of President Buhari.