Abuja — A special presidential change of guards by the Brigade of Guards, Nigerian Army yesterday climaxed this year's celebration of Nigeria's independence.
The ceremony which held at the fore court of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was attended by President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Former Presidents Yakubu Gowon and Ernest Shonekan as well as the service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police.
Also in attendance were ministers, members of the Diplomatic Corp and other invited guests including the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Bamanga Tukur and the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, Tony Anenih.
This is the third time in as many years the presidential change of guards is holding in the Presidential Villa instead of the Eagle Square where a bomb blast shattered the celebration in 2010.
Since then government has resorted to low keyed ceremony instead of the flamboyant military parade that had characterized previous ceremonies.
Yesterday's ceremony was conducted by 136 officers and soldiers of the Nigeria Army commanded by Brigadier General Emmanuel Atewe and lasted for about an hour.
President Goodluck Jonathan had earlier inspected the quarter guards before moving to the podium where he received the General salute which was followed by rendition of the National Anthem.
Opening prayers were subsequently offered by the President of Christians Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritshejafor, and the Chief Imam of the Abuja National Mosque, Shiek Musa Muhammad.
After the ceremony, the President signed the anniversary register and there after released 53 white pigeons signifying peace in the country.
He thereafter cut the anniversary cake and was supported by Vice President Namadi Sambo and Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal and his Deputy Emeka Ihedioha and former Heads of State, Yakubu Gowon and Ernest Shonekan.