Saraki, Dogara, Obasanjo absent from Independence Day rally

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, were on Monday absent at a parade organised to commemorate Nigeria’s 58th Independence Day anniversary.



The strictly military event held at the Eagles Square, Abuja was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.



Recall that Saraki and Dogara recently defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.



Also in attendance at the parade was the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.



Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was also absent at the event attended by two former military leaders: Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar.



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 Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria 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 the Nigerian Air Force.



Highlights 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 this administration.



The Monday event was the first time since 2010 that the Federal Government will be celebrating the nation’s Independence anniversary elaborately.



Recall that the 2010 event 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.



That was under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.



Since then, the government had observed low-key celebrations with the October 1 event holding at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.



Since 2015 when he assumed office, Buhari had also been celebrating the day at the Presidential Villa.



Saraki, Dogara and Nigerian former leaders had been joining him for the event.
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