President Muhammadu Buhari was on Tuesday, joined by the former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, former Vice President under the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, Namadi Sambo and the former Chief of General Staff Supreme Headquarters General Oladipp Diya, retd, at the presidential villa for Presidential Change of Guards.
The ceremony which took place at the Fore Court of the State House, Aso Rock was part of the activities to mark Nigeria’s 59th independence anniversary. The Presidential Change of Guards was attended by Ambassadors, members of the Diplomatic Corps, members of the Federal Executive Council as well as traditional and religious leaders.
There was a colorful presidential change of guard from the 177 guard battalion that handed over to a new guard of the 7th battalion of the guards’ brigade. President Buhari was ushered into the forecourt at exactly 10:00 am by pipers from the Guards Brigade after inspecting a guard of honour at the quarter guard mounted in front of the presidential office.
It was the first under the second term tenure of the administration of President Buhari which is tagged as, “Next Level” government. The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mohammed Tanko were also present at the ceremony.
Also at the ceremony were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu, the Service chiefs and other top government functionaries. Guests witnessed the 21 gun salute in honour of the special guest President Buhari and the anniversary of the country.
There was also inspection of new Guard/Quarter guard, silent drills, color party, posting of sentries and weapons and uniform inspections to ensure conformity with military standards. There was no speech at the ceremony, but President Buhari signed the anniversary register and released pigeons from the cage to signify peace. The President also assisted by some top Dignitaries, cut the anniversary cake.
The celebration at the Forecourt of the Presidential Villa replaced the full military parade, drills, and entertainments which used to hold at the Eagle Square, Abuja. Since the 1st of October, 2010 when the anniversary celebration witnessed bomb blasts at the Eagle Square, Abuja, the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan had marked all subsequent independent anniversaries under his administration in Aso Rock.
President Buhari marked the 58th Independence Anniversary last year at the Eagles Square, Abuja.