Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was conspicuously absent on Friday at the 61st Independence Anniversary ceremony for the homeland, Nigeria, held in the Eagle Square, Abuja.
The ceremony which was led by President Muhammadu Buhari, was attended by other former presidents and military leaders, thus underscoring the possible disaffection between Obasanjo and Buhari.
The Abeokuta, Ogun State-born former President has been critical often, of Buhari’s style of administration, especially regarding government’s seeming non-challance to Nigeria’s worsening security situation.
The Independence anniversary ceremony held between 10am and 12pm and was replicated in other states’ capitals, nationwide.
Buhari was joined by former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.); former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience; and former Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
Others in attendance are: Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko; cabinet ministers and other eminent personalities.
Also at the parade ground were service chiefs: Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Farouk Yahaya; Chief Of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor and Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba.
It could not be confirmed, however, whether Obasanjo was invited to the event or not.
In the same vein, efforts to hear out the former President through his media aide proved abortive.
Curiously, as was the tradition, Obasanjo did not issue any Independence Day statement either, which would have expectedly been scathing, in commentary.
Only two weeks ago in South Africa, the former President had given damning verdict on the borrowing spree of the present government, saying it would lead to sorrow, as the funds could be mismanaged.