PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled Nigeria’s diamond jubilee logo that will be used to celebrate the nation turning 60 on October 1 with a warning however that the celebrations will be low-key die to the coronavirus pandemic.
On October 1 1960, Nigeria officially became a sovereign nation, with Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa taking over the reins of government from the last British governor-general Sir James Robertson. Were it not for the Covid-19 pandemic, the 60th anniversary of the event would have been marked with a lot of pomp and pageantry.
However, Covid-19 has not only brought about social restrictions but has also severely depleted Nigeria’s finances, making an expensive week-long celebration beyond reach. In 2010 when Nigeria clocked 50, the celebrations were very elaborate as they were in 2014 when Nigeria celebrated 100 years of the 1914 amalgamation.
Unveiling the 60th anniversary logo, which has a diamond at the centre of it, President Buhari pledged that his administration will continue to work towards greater inclusiveness. President Buhari described the logo as a product of choice from Nigerians who participated in the selection process.
He noted that 60 years of independence calls for pomp and pageantry but explained that the Covid-19 pandemic has also forced on the government and country a low-key celebration. President Buhari said: “Operating within the limitations placed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we created an Internet challenge for Nigerians to make a choice from a set of four pre-selected logos that will appropriately define the theme.
“Of these four options, Nigerians from all walks of life participated in making a choice and I’m happy to let you know that the logo I will be unveiling is a product of choice from the Nigerian people. I’m informed that the selected option depicts our togetherness, a country of over 200m people, whose natural talents, grits and passion glitter like the precious diamond we are.”
In the UK, a group of Nigerians have got together to organise a series of independence day seminars titled the Nigeria Independence Day Annual Lectures (Nidal). To be aired on Yanga TV and several social media platforms, the seminars will have three heavyweight keynote speakers who will discuss a trio of selected topics.
Vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo will give an address on the state of the economy and how it has fared since 1960, Nigerian Diaspora Commission chair Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa will talk about the role of diasporans, while youth campaigner Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji will speak about how young Nigerians can contribute to national development. These Nidal lectures are to become an annual event held every October 1.