General Gowon at 87 -GCFRNG

General Gowon at 87 -GCFRNG

MONDAY, October 19, 2021, marked the 87th birthday of one of Nigeria’s surviving historical personalities: General Yakubu Gowon. He was the second military Head of State to rule Nigeria between August 1, 1967 and July 29, 1975.

He also led the country through the crises that followed the overthrow of the government of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa on January 15, 1966 and the Biafra-Nigeria War (the Civil War), which ended with the restoration of Nigerian unity.

Gowon will be forever remembered for his patriotic disposition that ensured that the War would end with minimal bloodshed. His declaration of “Not Winners, Not Defeated” and his policy of “Reconstruction, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation” helped restore trust and faith in our nation, especially on the part of the ex-Biafran returnees.

It is highly regrettable that some of his comrades in arms did not share Gowon’s patriotic mindset, who to this day continue to project cynical governance attitudes that deny the spirit of reconciliation and national unity. That is why the “rising sun” of Biafra has risen again, supposedly “forever setting” 51 years ago.

This was recently manifested in the mobilization of the armed forces to enforce peace in the Southeast after a resurgence of violence by elements suspected of belonging to the neo-secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

General Gowon and his surviving comrades must feel a sense of failed mission due to mismanagement of the nation’s postwar challenges. If the situation had been different, Nigeria would be a very happy place for all its citizens, neighbors and all of Africa by now.

Gowon led an administration that experienced the nation’s first oil boom. The country became rich overnight, and Gowon deployed much of the resources to develop Lagos (the then federal capital) into the economic capital of Nigeria that still is: the ports, the roads, the elevated bridges, roadways and military / security infrastructure.

Gowon and his successor, the late General Murtala Muhammed, were easily the last group of military officers who were not wealthy when they were no longer in office. Later military rulers and officers probably felt entitled to be rewarded with the public resources at their disposal to fight in the Civil War.

This is why public officials are now considered a criminal enterprise, the gateway to quick riches. This is also the reason why Nigeria remains poor despite our enormous potential.

Unlike General Olusegun Obasanjo, who has continued to boldly engage with incumbent presidents through his often explosive “letters,” Gowon, the first military officer to earn a doctorate, leads “Nigeria Prays,” a group that believes that prayer is capable of rescuing Nigeria. .

While we urge you to be more assertive, as the father of the nation, to get our leaders who are denying the spirit of genuine “One Nigeria” mending their ways, we pray that you continue to age gracefully.

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General Gowon at 87 -GCFRNG

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