Gowon, Jonathan Grace 60th Independence Anniversary in Eagle Square

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By Omololu Ogunmade

At Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary celebration held at Eagle Square, Abuja Thursday, only former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), and former President Goodluck Jonathan, among Nigeria’s former leaders, were present

The two ex-leaders joined President Muhammadu Buhari to sign anniversary register during the ceremony.

The ceremony, which also had Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in attendance, was attended by former Chief of General Staff, General Oladipo Diya (rtd.) and former Vice President Namadi Sambo.

The event, which was also attended by Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, was graced by cabinet members, top government functionaries, diplomats and other invited guests.

Upon arriving at the venue of the ceremony, President Muhammadu Buhari inspected the guards-in parade-in an open car.

During the inspection, the parade which displayed its respect and loyalty to the president, was made up of the nation’s armed forces including the Army, Nigeria Air Force and the Navy as well as the para-military forces.

The ceremony featured intriguing displays, traditional dances and other entertaining performances by a combined group of both military and civilian artistes.

However, the high point of the event was the fly past by the Nigeria Air Force helicopter pilots, which was very brief because of poor weather conditions.

The Nigeria Air Force explained that the fly past was abridged in contrast to plans because of low clouds at the Eagle Square.

The fly past was led by two Agusta helicopters, which are actively involved in combat operations, one of which had the banner of the theme of the celebration.

The two helicopters were followed by three Alpha jets which had been used for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat operations such as the ECOMOG, Northern Mali and Niger Delta operations.

The jets were also followed by Air 39ZA that are involved in operations in the North-east and North-west.