Nigeria marked its 60th independence anniversary on Thursday with President Muhammadu Buhari calling on the citizens to rededicate themselves to the common goals of a united, prosperous and purposeful nation in the face of 21st century opportunities and challenges.

Different reactions greeted the president’s 53-point address to the nation, with the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBF) dismissing it as “full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

The organisation declared in a statement released by its leaders; Yinka Odumakin (South West), Chief Guy Ikokwu (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt) that “Buhari would have made sense if he had used the opportunity to outline the process of reconstituting Nigeria to return it to the path of productivity, autonomy for the federating units and sustainable peace and development”.

In South Africa, members of two ethnic nationality groups – Independent Peoples Organisation of Biafra (IPOB) and Yoruba One Voice – converged on the Nigeria High Commission in Pretoria to register their demand for independence from Nigeria.

Delegation Leader Dr Clement Akintoye Okesokun told NewsPlus in an exclusive interview that Yoruba One Voice, a coalition of all Yoruba organisations in the Diaspora, seeks to project to the world the demand of the Yoruba people for a Yoruba nation.

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Members of Yoruba One Voice literally deployed their voices in expressing their cause.

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NewsPlus also caught up with the National Coordinator IPOB South Africa, Ogechukwu Isu, who declared that it is wrong to consider Biafra as part of Nigeria because Biafra was in existence before Nigeria.

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But Rotimi Oyelowo, another Nigerian who has been living in South Africa for some 15 years, believes that division is not the solution.

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The agitation for independence by different ethnic nationalities has been a constant feature in Nigeria’s independence anniversaries for decades.

NP/Tony Ekata/Covered

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