By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara were conspicuously absent at the Independence celebration at Eagle Square in Abuja on Monday
The two leading legislators had recently defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
But Secretary to Government of the Federation SGF, Boss Mustapha, said the country had every reason to celebrate.
Speaking to Journalists at the Eagle Square, Abuja, soon after the grand finale of events commemorating this year’s celebration, the SGF said such elaborate celebrations were good for the history of the nation especially to the younger generation that may not be acquainted with such celebration usually held on national day.
He said: “We have to be reflective with this particular situation. The last time we had such a celebration was in 2010, which was our centenary celebration so for the last eight years we have not had any major celebration and we felt strongly that we are loosing trend with our tradition and our history. A child born seven years ago has no idea whether we celebrate our national day so I want us to look at this particular incidence today with retrospect and appreciate the fact that we have come a long way and God has been faithful to us as a nation.”
Mustapha went on to praise President Muhammadu Buhari for adequately addressing security challenges confronting some parts of the country by taking the needed steps.
“Most of the equipments our military boasts of today especially those displayed during Monday’s celebration were acquired during this tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari. As you heard from the Airforce commentator, President Buhari that about 23 war planes have so far been acquired so it means that in the last couple of decades we‘ve not paid much attention to the acquisition military hardware to effectively be able to fight the insurgency and other forms of security challenges that we have had in the country.
“Now that we are acquiring more, you can see that there is relative calm in the North-East. Even the banditry in the North-Central and North-Western areas is being checked effectively and I believe it will be a continuous thing because the problem keeps propping up but as that happens, we will deal with the problem,” he assured Nigerians.
The SGF emphasized that government would not relent in dealing with any security challenge because “the primary responsibility of government is to secure this nation and provide for people to be able to pursue their various enterprises, it’s our responsibility and we will do that.”
Also speaking, Defence Minister, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (Rtd.) said the display of hardware by the country’s Armed Forces at the event showed the world that the military are capable of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria at all times.
“The military is the pride of the nation thus you need to showcase what you have and what you are capable of doing and what we displayed today shows our capability at all times,” he said.