Nigeria’s 55th Independence anniversary celebrations yesterday united Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja
Nigeria’s 55th Independence anniversary celebrations yesterday came with some political manoeuvres as embattled Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, was allowed into the Presidential Villa, Abuja, for the first time since assuming the leadership of the Red Chamber.
The UNION learnt that intensive behind-the-scene lobby was undertaken on Saraki’s behalf by some leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters ( Senate), Senator Solomon Ita- Enang, and other notable Nigerians.
The event however drew several dignitaries from various walks of life including Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmoud Mohammed, former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, Interim Government Head, Chief Earnest Shonekan and fomer Vice-President, Chief Alex Ekwueme.
The celebration was lowkeyed as Nigerians mourn over 60 of their compatriots who lost their lives due to stampede at this year’s hajj in Saudi Arabia. Senator Saraki who joining others to perform some official functions at the Presidential Villa for the first time since the government was inaugurated, also joined President Buhari, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and the Chief Justice of Nigeria to cut the 55th anniversary cake.
The dignitaries who witnessed the beautiful Military parade by the special group from the Guards Brigade included Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, former head of Nigeria’s interim government Earnest Shonekan, former Senate President Ken Nnamani, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Umar Ghali Na’ Aba, members of the diplomatic community as well as several government officials.
Saraki’s emergence as Speaker under a cloud and his refusal to subject his office to the beck and call of party leaders under the phony party supremacy, has cut the image of a non-conformist, which party leaders had been exploiting to drive a wedge between him and the President.
Nonetheless, the recent Code of Conduct Bureau’s 13- count allegation of false asset declaration against Saraki is said to have made President Buhari rethink his non-interference posture with activities of the Senate, considering his anti-corruption stance. President Buhari has however denied having any hand in the CCB matter as speculated and has further demonstrated his innocence by stating that his interference was impeachable.
Taking his presence at the Villa in his stride, the highly elated Senate President who later spoke with State House Correspondents after the celebration, assured Nigerians of better future, adding that the National Assembly under his leadership will be people oriented. He reiterated his earlier assurance that it will not be business as usual. He said: “I am hopeful and confident that the future is very bright.
In next few years, things will be even better. “It will not be business as usual. We will ensure that the National Assembly will be people-oriented and will make laws that will make impact on Nigerians” Also speaking after the event, the APC national Chairman, Chief Oyegun also sees a sign of hope for Nigeria, saying that the country is finally moving in the right direction . “At 55, we have finally discovered that we are on the wrong road.
We have finally moved to the right way that leads to progress, hope, employment, prosperity and that will lead to Nigeria, finally attaining that greatness that God destined it for. We are on the way” The Chief Justice of the Federation on his part agreed with the views of other presidential dignitaries, stating that Nigeria will make it to the promised land “We will make it by the grace of God. We are on the right path” The event had witnessed a colorful display by the Nigerian Army and also witnessed the traditional cutting of the Anniversary Cake, release of Pigeons and the 21 gun salute .
– Tony Ailemen, Abuja