The federal government of Nigeria spent at least 2.87 billion on independence, centenary and democracy day celebrations between 2010 and 2019.
According to data released by the federal government in 2015, the country spent N2.24 billion on the golden jubilee celebration in 2010, independence day ceremonies, in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, as well as centenary festivities in 2014.
The 50th year anniversary activities of 2010, gulped the largest amount of funds to date.
That year, the Jonathan government spent N1.75 billion. It was during the occasion that a bomb blast occurred at the venue of the event – Eagle’s Square.
Activities were soon moved into Aso Rock.
In 2011 however, the Jonathan administration budgeted nothing for independence/democracy day celebrations.
In 2012, the government set out N107.6 million.
The lowest amount of money spent within the period under review was in 2013 when the government spent N45 million.
Next to 2010 was 2014. The presidency used N180 million on Independence Day activities and another N138.14 million in an event to confer awards on Nigerians and friends of the country.
Centenary celebrations were, however, said to have started as early as February 2014.
Next to 2013 in ascending order, was 2015. The presidency decided to have a quiet celebration which cost N70 million.
By the country’s 56th birthday, the economy had slipped into a recession. The presidency decided it had no funds to spare. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, the Buhari administration felt it was nice to keep the cost of marking the independence and democracy days at N170 million.
However, Afenifere chieftain, Yinka Odumakin, believed the country had nothing to celebrate.
“Those monies are just being wasted,” he said. “There is nothing for us to celebrate. “Independence Day should be a kind of sober reflection for us in the country about missed opportunities. Nigeria is the global capital of poverty in the world. What are we celebrating?”
He suggested that the president should proceed to give a speech and address the country’s problems rather than wasting the country’s time.