L-R, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha; Minister of State, Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada; Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mariam Aloma Muktar; Vice President Namadi Sambo; President Goodluck Jonathan; Senate President, Senator David Mark and Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur cutting the Independence Cake at the Change of Guard Parade to mark the nation’s 52nd Independence Celebration held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday
By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Monday witnessed a low-key Independence Day celebration, which is in line with the measures adopted by the Federal Government against the back drop of the state of insecurity in the country.
Just like last year, the usual flamboyant ceremonies that accompany the Guard of Honour at the Eagle Square was relocated to the Presidential Villa in order to avoid any security lapses like the twin bombings that marred the 2010 celebrations.
Meanwhile, the General Superintendent of Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor Williams Kumuyi, has assured of a better future for the country while calling on Nigerians to forget the past and look ahead insisting that despite all the challenges, there is hope for the country.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government through the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, on September 4 disclosed that this years' Independent anniversary will be low key.
Moro said that the Federal Government is concerned with the need to pursue the transformation agenda embarked upon by the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration.
He noted that president Jonathan's transformation agenda has taken off, describing it as an athletics race, which should not be celebrated until he or she wins the race, adding: "The present administration believes that proper foundation should be laid before any celebration".
"The world today is troubled; there are cries of infrastructure decay in Nigeria and insecurity. Rather than commit money into celebration, we will rather use it for the development of the country. It will be too immature to embark on flamboyant activities while there are a large number of unemployed youths in the country," he said.
Speaking further, the minister, who said that the present administration was still at infancy stage, made it known that come 2014, the country will be celebrating in a bigger way her centurion.
Accordingly, THISDAY observed that FCT was devoured of the usual fanfare that accompanies every October 1 while security was beefed up at strategic public places like Eagle Square with military helicopters hovering around the city
While movement was low, there was however a remarked improvement over 2011 when people were forced to stay indoors over fears of possible Boko Haram attack.
This time there was apparent sense of security with FCT residents more confident to move around, visiting family and friends while others used the opportunity to pray for the country such as the one organised by Kumuyi.
The cleric, who said there is still room for improvement in the light of the odds the country is passing through urged the nation to fuse together and move on because there is a better future for Nigeria.
He gave this assurance while fielding question from journalists Monday in Abuja after a four-day programme with the theme: "Divine connection for freedom", as part of activities marking the nation's 52nd anniversary.
He said: “There is room for improvement, if an individual can do what it is expected to do, our nation also can do that. This is where we are now and everybody knows that we are not happy the way we are, but we can stop and think about what we have not done right, and then there is a united focus and courage to move on and I believe that there is still a better future for Nigeria.
"Since Nigeria will soon clock 100 years, the country should bequeath to the younger generation the Nigeria of their dreams.
"Nigeria as a country will clock 100 very soon. We should be concerned that we have to come together as a nation what story are we going to tell and what image are we going to project to the world.”
According to him, all Nigerians should strive towards being achievers to ensure the realisation of the Vision 2020 agenda.
To achieve this, he admonished all Nigerians and especially the leadership at all levels including the communities, to do something positive and progressive so that as the county progresses, they will be remembered.
Kumuyi said: "When there is life there is hope. So I will say that as we are celebrating our 52nd anniversary, we should thank God for keeping us alive. Whatever we can do to improve the conditions of people and make their livelihood better should be done.”