Former Heads of State and Presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd), Alh Shehu Shagari and Abdulsalami Abubakar yesterday night stormed the presidential villa for the flag off dinner of centenary celebrations billed to hold January next year.
Ironically, Obasanjo who presented the centenary theme challenged Nigerians to love their country and speak positively about the President. The former resident had been critical of the Jonathan's administration of late, accusing the president of being the cause of the Boko Haram insurgence.
High point of the event was the lighting of the centenary torch by Jonathan who walked straight to Buhari and held him hand in hand as they climbed the platform to conduct the lighting the torch.
They were later joined by Vice President Namadi Sambo, all former Heads of States, first lady Dame Patience and the vice president's wife.
President Jonathan in his speech expressed hope that the country was destined for greatness, as a powerful and great nation which would be the pride of generations yet unborn despite its challenges, including the civil war.
According to the president, what makes the country great is not the abundance of mineral resources, but the interactions of Nigerians everywhere in the country as well as the efforts of people from all works of life.
Citing the victory of the Super Eagles in the quarter finals against Cote D'Ivoire in the quarter finals of the on-going African Cup of Nations in South Africa, he said the hardwork of all Nigerians promotes the country's sense of unity.
Gowon who unveiled the centenary logo, described Nigeria as a nation of strong, peaceful and hard working people. He expressed hope in the future of the country.
The logo, he said embodies the country's values for faith and courage ans symbolises unity. He prayedl for Nigeria to experience peace and progress. He presented the logo to Mr President.
Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar presented the centenary theme song, while Speaker Aminu Tambuwal launched the centenary web portal before Senate President, David Mark launched the centenary lottery.
Also present at the occassion were SGF, Senator Anyim, Pius Anyim, Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, Deputy Senate President, Sen Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha also made the event as well as other members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Others are Senators Ken Nnamani, Prof Jeryy Gana, PDP chairman, Bamanga Tukur, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Senator Ben Obi, Andy Uba, Chris Ngige, Zack Orji, Aliko Dangote, Ben Murray Bruce, Barnabas Gemade
Governors present wre TA Orji (Abia), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Muazu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe)
Nollywood stars present were Monalisa Chinda, Segun Arinze, Jide Kosoko, Charles Okafor, AGN president, Ibinabo Fibresima.