The 54th Independence Day celebration held at Aso Rock for the fourth time in a row since the ghastly 2010 celebration which held at what use to be the usual venue of celebration- Eagle Square.
President Goodluck Jonathan, joined by former Heads of State, leadership of the National Assembly, the judiciary and top government officials, on Wednesday, shelved pageantry and held a brief ceremony to mark Nigeria’s 54th Independence at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa.
The celebration was marked with the customary Change of Guards parade, conducted by the Presidential Guards Brigade — the 177 Battalion based in Keffi.
The event featured the inspection of new guard/quarter guard, silent drill, posting of sentries/colour patrol and echelon reporting of parade amongst others.
The presidential change of guards also involved foot and arms drill, rhythmic and calculated steps and checking of weapons to ensure rounds of arms were not left in them.
Before the October 1 2010 bomb blast, which claimed at least 20 lives, the Eagle Square was the usual host for a customary grand ceremony.
But with terrorism plaguing the nation especially the northern region, the ceremony quickly ended with the President signing the Independence anniversary register and releasing pigeons to signify peace.
The President was accompanied by Senate President, David Mark, Service Chiefs, Acting Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, and other dignitaries.
The former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon; former Head of Interim National Government, Ernest Shonekan; former Vice President Alex Ekwueme; Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, Emeka Ihediora; former Chief of General Staff, Oladipo Diya attended the event.
Mr. Gowon, who spoke with journalists, said Nigerians must work to make the country great.
“I believe in Nigeria, I love Nigeria and we all must work for Nigeria, the government and the opposition in order to make Nigeria great. That is my wish. Nigeria will survive beyond 2015,” Mr.Gowon said.