The national leader of the All progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was conspicuously absent on Saturday as President Muhammadu Buhari marked the nation’s Independence Day anniversary inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja, amidst tight security.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara was also not in attendance.
The nation’s 56th Independence anniversary was marked with Presidential Change of Guards Parade attended by top government officials, former Nigerian leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and captains of industry.
The nation’s 50th anniversary in 2010 was the last held inside Eagles Square, Abuja where it usually held.
The event was marred by bombings allegedly orchestrated by members of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta led by Henry Okah.
Since then, the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan changed the venue of subsequent independence events to the Presidential Villa.
Buhari did not change the trend as he celebrated the 55th independence anniversary at the same venue last year.
The anniversary which was strictly a military event featured military parade, change of guard, 21-gun salute, signing of anniversary register, release of pigeons and cutting of an anniversary cake.
The event was however attended by the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed; and other principal officers of the National Assembly.
Former Nigerian leaders who attended the programme included former military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.); former Chief of General Staff, Gen. Oladipo Diya (retd.); former Vice President Alex Ekwueme; former Vice President Namadi Sambo; a former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani; and a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’Abba.
Others in attendance were chieftains of the ruling APC led by the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; members of the Federal Executive Council, and service chiefs.