The 61st Independence anniversary of Nigeria was not marked in Anambra State yesterday.
Though the state government earlier made plans for the celebration at Ekwueme Square, Awka, the state capital, the event was canceled.
The venue was colourfully decorated with the Nigerian national colours, and a podium for the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, to stand and deliver his independence anniversary message after inspection of the traditional guard of honours.
But the governor did not show up at the event. Heavily armed policemen stationed armoured personnel carriers at the venue to provide security.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that the last minute decision by the state government to cancel the anniversary celebration was not unconnected with the earlier warning by IPOB to people of the South East to stay at home on the day of the celebration.
The fear that the venue might be turned into a killing field was heightened by the spate of killings in the state since last Saturday, up till the eve of the anniversary.
It is estimated that no fewer than 20 persons, including Dr Chike Akunyili the husband of a former information minister and NAFDAC director general, Prof. Dora Akunyili, have lost their lives in the hands of gunmen.
The state police command had its Ajali police station in Orumba-North local government area of the state burnt by the hoodlums who warned that nobody should be seen with the national flag, and logo of any political party anywhere in the state.
Some candidates of political parties in the coming November 6 gubernatorial election say they had been advised by a security agency in the state not to be holding any public political rallies again, as security at such events might not be guaranteed.
As at the of filing this report the organisers of the 61st Nigeria Independence Anniversary celebration at the Ekwueme Square had started dismantling the public address system and other equipment to be used for the event.