NIGERIAN President Muhammadu Buhari and top government officials on Monday converged at the Eagles Square in Abuja to mark the 2022 Democracy Day celebration.
Buhari’s arrival was met with a general salute which marked the beginning of the exercise.
There were also salutes for the service chiefs including Chief of Defence Staff Lucky Irabor, Chief of Army Staff Farouk Yahaya, Chief of Naval Staff Awwal Gambo and Chief of Air Staff Isiaka Oladayo Amao, as well as the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.
The Minister of Defence Bashir Magashi and other members of the President’s cabinet were also at the event, alongside members of the National Assembly and members of the diplomatic corps.
Students and other civilians also graced the event, with many bearing the Nigerian flag.
The Democracy Day Parade is an annual event held in commemoration of Nigeria’s return to civilian rule and heroes of democracy.
Previously being marked annually on May 29, Buhari had directed that the celebration be shifted to June 12 to also honour the late Moshood Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the nullified 1993 presidential election.
The Federal Government had said last week that Nigeria had a lot to celebrate after spending 23 year without military incursion.
Minister for Information and Culture Lai Mohammed made the declaration at a press briefing, adding that the shift in date was also meant to honour Nigerians who sacrificed their lives for democracy.
“We are also celebrating the day to pay tribute to MKO Abiola, the winner of the 1993 presidential election and also to other Nigerians who lost their lives during the struggle,” Mohammed said.
Some Nigerians however, have disagreed with Mohammed, including President of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Emmanuel Osodeke, who said there was nothing worth celebrating as insecurity and poverty were major challenges facing the country.
“With a minimum wage of 30,000, which is less than a bag of rice, Nigerian workers are languishing in abject poverty,” he said.