By Yusuf Alli and Onyedi Ojiabor, Abuja
The Federal Government Thursday said the nation will mark its 60th anniversary for one year in a low-key and staggered ways.
It said the low-key nature of independence anniversary was not unconnected with the COVID-19 global pandemic.
It however said the nation opted to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee because the nation was able to survive a Civil War, security challenges and many political and religious crises.
But it assured Nigerians that the Buhari administration is “working assiduously to build a new Nigeria.”
It said as part of the celebration, Buhari will launch the “National Ethics and Integrity Policy” as well as “Integrity Award” to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed made the disclosures in Abuja at a briefing by a three-man media sub-committee of the event.
Other Ministers at the session were the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq.
Mohammed said: “The 60th independence anniversary celebration will be low-key, as Mr. President has already announced. Of course, this is not unconnected with the Covid-19 global pandemic, which has forced some safety protocols on nations around the world.
“Therefore, the pomp and pageantry that should have marked the celebration will be largely missing.
“Before I announce the activities that have been lined-up for the Diamond Jubilee, let me say here that the 60th anniversary celebration will be celebrated for a whole year, ending September 30th 2021.
“Therefore, there are some activities that may come up after the ones to be announced today. This does not mean there will be daily activities between now and Sept. 30th 2021, but that there will be staggered events during that period. We will ensure to keep you posted.”
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The Minister also explained that for surviving a Civil War in its history, Nigeria deserves to mark its Diamond Jubilee.
He added: “Now, some may wonder why Nigeria needs to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee at all, considering the myriad of socio-economic challenges facing the country. And our answer to that is contained in our theme of ‘Together’.
“For a country that has gone through a bitter, internecine civil war, years of political crisis, daunting security challenges, including religious and ethnic crisis, etc, our unity and our resilience (which by the way is what diamond represents) are worth celebrating.
“Also, in certain cultures, the age of 60 is seen as the beginning of a new cycle of life, and is usually well marked. For Nigeria as a country, the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari offers a new beginning.”
He said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will bequeath a new Nigeria by laying the foundation for industrial and technological development.
Mohammed said: “The Administration is working assiduously to build a new Nigeria, laying the building blocks for industrial and technological development by building massive infrastructure in the areas of power, roads, bridges, rail etc. and by developing human capital.
“ The Administration is also fighting corruption, tackling insecurity and diversifying the economy by leveraging ICT, Creative Industry, Agriculture and mining, among others.
“And so, I say, let the celebrations begin, and this is wishing all Nigerians a happy 60th independence anniversary.”
The Minister re-echoed President Buhari’s explanation of the 60th anniversary logo.
He said: “Please permit me to quote Mr. President’s explanation of the logo: The neatly encrusted Diamond on the Nigerian Map symbolizes our age of treasure, the worth of the Nigerian people with our sparkle to the admiration of the world.
“In the same vein, the pear green and dark green colours should respectively remind us of our warmth, welcoming spirit and love as well as the abundant wealth inherent in our human capital and the richness of our land. All these properties make us unarguably the most prosperous black nation in the world and Africa’s largest economy.”