The President during a national broadcast marking the celebration if the nation’s 54th anniversary noted that the intention of the insurgents currently terrorizing certain parts of the country was to cause confusion and disunity among Nigerians insisting that they will not succeed in their dastardly act.
Jonathan who itemized the achievements recorded by the nation since the advent of democracy about 16 years a ago noted that the country is currently facing the challenge of nationhood.
According to him, the nation is in a sober moment as a result of the activities of the insurgents.
He said “They have made violence their ideology and are bent on destroying our country. Dear countrymen and women, we will not allow them.
The President regretted that the terrorists had maimed and killed many Nigerians.
“In their mission, they have maimed and raped. They have killed men, women and children, rendering many children orphans and several women widows.”
He commended the security forces’ counter-terrorism efforts and noted that his administration would continue to support them to deal a devastating blow on the insurgents.
The President urged the insurgents to lay down their arms and called on those with genuine grievances to embrace dialogue.
The anniversary was however marred by low turnout nationwide, which was carried out under tight security, even as the Federal Government yesterday celebrated the event in a low-key at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
There was a Presidential change of guard to mark the occasion. The ceremony, which lasted for about two hours, was held at the fore-court of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to replace the normal full military parade and entertainments of the past ceremony normally held at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
The President did not appear in his ceremonial military uniform. He inspected the quarter guards before walking to the Villa forecourt to receive national salute which was followed by rendition of the National Anthem.
The event witnessed the inspection of new Guard/Quarter guard, silent drills, posting of sentries and color.
Weapons and uniforms were also inspected to ensure conformity with military standards.
Shortly after the ceremony, President Jonathan signed the anniversary register, released pigeons from cage and assisted by some top dignitaries, he cut the anniversary cake.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the event, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, said, “I believe in Nigeria, I love Nigeria, and we all must work for Nigeria; that is everybody, the government and the opposition, in order to make Nigeria great. That is my wish. Nigeria will survive beyond 2015.”
On his part, the Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, said, “It is for us to continue the resolve to build our country, and to resolve to commonly address our common enemies and collectively decide to make Nigeria a great country.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. hon, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, was conspicuously absent at the anniversary.
The Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship aspirant in Delta State, Ngozi Olojeme said: “God has used President Jonathan to develop Nigeria to this level.”
Among those who attended the ceremony include the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, Senate President, Sen. David Mark, Former head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and former Chief of General Staff, Gen. Oladipo Diya, Low turnout mar Independent anniversary in Ilorin.
Low turn out in Kwara
The 54th independent anniversary celebration was marred by low turnout of people of Kwara State at the Ilorin Metropolitan square.
The venue was filled of security agencies and government officers. Similarly, the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed was absent at the celebration.
The celebration was carried out under tight security as anti-bomb police detectives were seen with sniffing dogs in the venue.
Men of the Police force, Immigration, Nigeria security and civil Defence Corps, Boys scout, Sherif guards and other paramilitary agencies took part in the match past and security of the venue.
Lagosians defy rain
Lagosians defied rain to celebrate Nigeria @ 54 Lagos residents yesterday trooped out enmasse despite the heavy downpour witnessed across the state to its Independence rally at the Police College in Ikeja, where Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola urged citizens to demonstrate greater commitment to the development of Nigeria and be irrevocably committed to its peace.
Fashola said the various challenges confronting the nation would be easily surmounted and if citizens resolved to assiduously work for the country `s progress.
He noted that the excitement that characterized past National Day celebrations has waned into mere ritual, saying the good old days could be restored if Nigerians changed their attitudes.
@54, Average Nigerians still suffering-Gov. Amosun
In Ogun state, Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun said average Nigerians are still suffering despite the recent grading of Nigeria as fastest growing economy in Africa.
He said this in his goodwill message marking the country’s 54th independence anniversary held at MKO Abiola International Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta
Ex-Gov. Daniels Sues for peace at independence
Former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel has urged Nigerians to continue to pray for peace and stability in order to achieve the lofty ideas of our founding fathers who advocated a united, peaceful and prosperous nation at the time of the country’s independence.
The former governor said this in his goodwill message on the occasion of Nigeria’s 54th independence anniversary.
Jonathan’s comission of Chibok girls from independence broadcast insensitive, says CACOL
A group, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders has said the inexplicable omission of the abducted chibok secondary school girls in Borno from yesterday independence broadcast by Mr. President remains insensitive and shows how irresponsible the Jonathan led government has been.
This was contained in a press release issued and singed in Lagos yesterday by the Executive chairman of CACOL, Comrade Debo Adeniran.
“How the president could have thought it appropriate to touch on so many issues of national concern, not even a word was spared about these promising Nigerian youths.”
Group protest Presidency’s silence on Chibok girls
The Citizens Arise Movement of Nigeria; a right’s group based in Abuja, yesterday staged a peaceful protest at the Eagle Square Abuja to register its displeasure at the alleged insensitivity of the federal government to the plight of the over 200 missing Chibok girls.
The group, numbering about 200, was led by Otunba DIno Melaye, who condemned President Goodluck Jonathan’s speech on the occasion of the nation’s 54th independence, stressing that his refusal to express concern for the Missing Chibok girls was totally unacceptable.
NLC seeks improved welfare, social security for workers
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Enugu State on Wednesday appealed to government at all levels to improve the welfare of workers to ensure improved productivity and industrial peace.
The union leader, while assessing the achievements of the country since independence, stressed the need for industrial peace and harmony.
Independence Day: Shettima pardons 22 inmates Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state yesterday granted Amnesty for 22 inmates serving various jail terms at the Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison.
Governor Shettima announced this, when he visited the prison yard in commemoration of the nation’s 54th Inpendence Anniversary.
Shettima said the gesture was based on power conferred on him under section 212 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, even as he donated clothing materials and N50, 000 for each of the freed inmates.
Shettima charged the beneficiaries of the amnesty to consider their freedom as another opportunity to have to start a new life and be of good characters.