Yakubu Gowon, the peace advocate
Sir: Great leaders love their countries, and love for these countries become their waking and sleeping thoughts. In Nigeria, hardly do you see losers of elections congratulate winners. Every leader has his demons, which same leader must be able to rise above. Gowon’s demon in my estimation is the poor handling of General Aguiyi Ironsi’s “affair” and the failure to polish the image of same general, which has confined him to the dust bin of irrelevance. But Gowon’s better angels seem to have risen above his stated demons.
Today, democracy in Nigeria instead of preventing anarchy seems to be journeying into anarchy. After elections, there has to be election tribunals, endless court cases to terminate at the Supreme Court. There are apple-polishing ethnic jingoists everywhere trumping northern versus southern cards without love for the country.
The coalition of opposition only seeks to win elections. And when you listen to their campaigns and how they address national issues you will find no clearly defined mission statement and attempt at addressing burning national issues. They make evasive and open-ended messages and promises without specifics. I can’t claim to be a fan of Gowon but snatches of information on his tour-of-duty reveal that he wasn’t a puppet Head-of-State. General Yakubu Gowon governed
Nigeria and steered her out of a regrettable civil war to maintain the unity of Nigeria. In contrast, some people nowadays have thoughtlessly allowed themselves to be used by many intolerant politicians whose speeches are always centred on closed-minded interests with the aim of pulling this nation apart. Some privileged people bother only about the political, ethnic and religious inclinations for sections of the country against other sections.
Gowon, unlike many elder statesmen, has refused to hideaway in quiet retirement, but has regularly engaged in the preachments for peace, stability and unity.This country needs leaders like Gowon who are acquainted with — the history of Nigeria, the challenges of nationhood and the solutions to numerous challenges. Gowon, despite his human-induced foibles seems to be the best ex-Head-of-State at the moment. He comes to the stage without guile, always to preach peace and stability and is so bi-partisan that members of the opposition parties have had cause to seek out his views on sensitive issues that border on national interests. It is our hope that Nigerians of this time can tap from the unswerving fountain of greatness released by General Yakubu Gowon to lift us out of poverty, unemployment, injustice and limited vision of the mind.
• Simon Abah, wrote this piece from Port Harcourt.
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