BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – The National leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has sent good wishes of congratulations to former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, as he turns 85 today, Saturday, October 19.
Tinubu described Gowon as a statesman, who contributed immensely to nation-building and Nigeria’s unity.
In a statement issued by his Media Office in Lagos on Friday night, Tinubu said: “I congratulate former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, as he clocks 85 on October 19, 2019.
”He is a statesman and national icon who contributed enormously to Nigeria’s unity and development.
“Nigeria owes General Gowon a debt of gratitude for his efforts at resolving ethnic tensions that threatened to fatally divide the country and for his continued and untiring efforts at building one Nigeria.
“It’s on record that after the civil war, General Gowon propounded the ‘No Victor, No Vanquished’ policy aimed at bringing about national reconciliation, which thrives on his personal influence.”
He said Gowon had not looked back since then, and not relented in his efforts geared towards forging national integration, even at advanced age.
“General Gowon has continued with the task of engendering peace and unity in the land with the ‘Nigeria Prays’ project.
“The General also laid the foundation for the decentralisation of the country with the creation of additional states and the division of Nigeria into 12 states.
“General Gowon was also one of the leaders who worked assiduously towards the formation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to drive integration in the sub-region.
“I pray that God grant him many more years, good health and vitality to continue to contribute to nation-building and development, and be a shining example to the younger generation that he has always been,” the statement said
Born on October 19, 1934, Gowon, who In January 1966 became Nigeria’s youngest military chief of staff at the age of 31, served as Nigeria’s Military Head of State of Nigeria from 1966 to 1975.
On 29 July 1975, while General Gowon was attending an OAU summit in Kampala, Uganda, a group of officers led by Colonel Joe Nanven Garba announced his overthrow. The coup plotters thereafter appointed Brigadier and later General Murtala Muhammad as head of the new government, with Brigadier Olusegun Obasanjo as his deputy.