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Nigeria at 60: Gowon, Jonathan at Eagle Square to celebrate with Buhari

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Two former Nigerian leaders — Gen. Yakubu Gowon and former President Goodluck Jonathan, were at Eagle Square, Abuja, on Thursday to join President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to celebrate the nation’s 60th Independence anniversary.

Other notable personalities also at the event were the former Chief of General Staff, retired Gen. Oladipo Diya and former Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
The three-hour long ceremony also had in attendance  senior government officials, members of the Diplomatic Corps and other guests at which the president signed anniversary register.

Prior to the event, Buhari had inspected a parade in an open car to give them the opportunity to show their respect and loyalty to him.

The parade was made up of the nation’s armed forces including the Army, Air Force and Navy as well as the para-military forces (Prisons, Immigration, Customs), fire service, road safety, civil Defence) Legion, Organized Labour  and National Youth Service Corp’s (NYSC).

There was also combined silent drill/mass band/civilian display with the theme: 60 Together (a display of traditional dances and other performances by a combined military and civilian artistes.)

The high point of the ceremony was the Nigerian Air Force display which had to be scaled down because of poor weather conditions.

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

The helicopters were followed in echelon by three Alpha jets used for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat operations such as ECOMOG, Northern Mali, Niger Delta operations.

The jets were followed by Air 39ZA also involved in operations in the North East and North West.

The Air Force explained that the fly past was less elaborate than planned because of low clouds at the Eagle Square.

The event was rounded off with three hearty cheers led by the parade commander and national salute accompanied by 21 artillery volleys.

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