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Saraki, Dogara Absent At Independence Day Parade



Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Seaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, were conspicuously absent at the Eagle Square, Abuja, during the 2018 Independence Day parade.

LEADERSHIP recalls that it is usually a tradition for leaders of the National Assembly to attend the Independence Day celebrations; however, since the advent of this administration in 2015, this is the first time that both leaders of the national parliament would miss the parade.

Notably, both men recently defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Consequently, the leadership of the APC had asked Saraki and Dogara to resign or be impeached.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, all attended the event. Yakubu Gowon, former head of state, was also in attendance.

It was an elaborate ceremony with all arms of the Nigerian Armed Forces displaying military dexterity.

On his part, the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the country has every reason to celebrate.

Speaking to State House correspondents at the Eagle Square, Abuja, soon after the grand finale of events commemorating this year’s celebration, the SGF said such elaborate celebrations are good for the history of the nation, especially to the younger generation that may not be acquainted with such celebrations usually held on national days.

He said, “We have to be reflective with this particular situation. The last time we had such a celebration was in 2010, which was our centenary celebration. So for the last eight years we have not had any major celebration and we felt strongly that we were losing trend with our tradition and our history.

“A child born seven years ago has no idea whether we celebrate our national day, so I want us to look at this particular incidence today with retrospect and appreciate the fact that we have come a long way and God has been faithful to us as a nation.”

Mustapha commended President Buhari for adequately addressing security challenges confronting some parts of the country by taking the needed steps.

He continued: “Most of the equipment our military boasts of today, especially those displayed during Monday’s (yesterday’s) celebration, were acquired during this tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“As you heard from the Air Force commentator, about 23 war planes have so far been acquired, so it means that in the last couple of decades we‘d not paid much attention to the acquisition military hardware to effectively be able to fight the insurgency and other forms of security challenges that we have had in the country.

“Now that we are acquiring more, you can see that there is relative calm in the North-East. Even the banditry in the North-Central and North-Western areas is being checked effectively and I believe it will be a continuous thing because the problem keeps propping up, but as that happens, we will deal with the problem”.

The SGF emphasized that government would not relent in dealing with any security challenge because “the primary responsibility of government is to secure this nation and provide for people to be able to pursue their various enterprises. It’s our responsibility and we will do that.”

Also speaking, Defence Minister, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd) said the display of hardware by the country’s Armed Forces at the event showed the world that the military was capable of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria at all times.

“The military is the pride of the nation, thus you need to showcase what you have and what you are capable of doing and what we displayed today shows our capability at all times,” he said.