It was a week of big wins at the seat of power as some major milestones were recorded. First, President Muhammadu Buhari continued his drive and vision to link all the regions and states in the country with railways.
Remarkably, the president has shown passion for infrastructural projects across the country .
It is instructive to note that rail system is regarded as the safest means of transportation all over the world and with the increased insecurity in the highways, a functional railway is imperative.
On Tuesday, after more than three decades delay, President Buhari inaugurated the 326 KM Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line for commercial operation as well as the ancillary facilities yard, at the recently named Goodluck Jonathan Railway Complex in Agbor (Owa-Oyibu), Delta State.
At the virtual opening of the rail line linking Itakpe to Warri, President Buhari directed the Federal Ministry of Transportation to link all the nation’s ports of origin and destination – Apapa, Tin Can, Warri, Onne, Calabar Ports- to the rail network in order to significantly improve overall transportation and economic capacities.
The President in a statement by presidential spokesman , Femi Adesina, declared that his administration recognised the importance of the railway mode of transportation as a vital backbone to support industrialization and economic development.
Recall that the President had earlier completed and commissioned the Abuja – Kaduna rail line. Also the Lagos – Ibadan rail is projected to be completed by December this year.
Similarly during the week, the president launched of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy, an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The president declared that the National Ethics and Integrity Policy “projects government’s aspiration for rediscovery of our cherished traditional ethical values of honesty, integrity, hard-work, truth and justice, unity, faith, and consideration for one another irrespective of status or background. Corruption and corruptive tendencies are abhorrent to these core ethical values.”
Apart from presenting publications by the commission, President Buhari also commended and presented awards to Opeyemi Peter Adeboye, Chikezie Favour and Matilda Daniels winners of the ICPC Youth Music and Essay Competitions on promotion of anti-corruption values as well as the 2020 Public Service Integrity Awardees; CSP Francis Osagie Erhabor of the Nigeria Police and Hamza Adamu Buwai of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment who demonstrated the will to look away from graft and corruption.
On Thursday, it was Nigeria’s 60 Independence anniversary celebrations. The day kicked off with a nationwide broadcast by the president by 7am. By 10am, all roads led to the Eagles square venue of the celebration.
Recall that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government opted for a low key celebrations. The government also said the celebrations will last for a year.
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and former President Goodluck Jonathan, were the only former Nigerian leaders to join President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to celebrate the nation’s 60th Independence Anniversary in Abuja .
The former leaders accompanied the president to sign anniversary register during the ceremony.
Also at the event, however, were the former Chief of General Staff, General Oladipo Diya (rtd) and former Vice President Namadi Sambo.
The ceremony, which took place at the Eagle Square, attracted top members of the administration, the Diplomatic Corps and other invited guests.
Before the commencement of activities to mark the day, President Buhari inspected the guards in parade in an open car to give them the opportunity to show their respect and loyalty to him.
The parade was made up of the nation’s armed forces including the army, air force and navy as well as the para-military forces.
It also witnessed display of tradition dances and other performances by a combined military and civilian artistes.
The high point of the ceremony was the Nigerian Air Force display, which had to be scaled down because of poor weather conditions.
The fly past was led by two Agusta helicopters, both actively involved in combat operations, one of which bore the banner of the theme of the celebration.
The helicopters were followed in echelon by three Alpha jets used for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat operations such as ECOMOG, Northern Mali, Niger Delta operations.
The jets were followed by Air 39ZA also involved in operations in the North East and North West.
The air force explained that the fly past was less elaborate than planned because of low clouds at the Eagle Square.