Nigeria’s former leader, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has been described as an integral part of Nigeria’s political history whose towering sense of patriotism and nationalism is simply outstanding.
Former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, in his goodwill message on the occasion of the 80th birthday of the reputable elder statesman, said Gowon’s place in the nation’s history is not in contest as it is replete with awesome records of achievements both in and outside power.
He said: “From his early life, which reflected an all-round school boy who excelled both in academics and sports, Dr. Gowon’s fine military career capped by his ascent to the exalted position as the Head of State at a very ‘tender’ age of 31 was a story of a rare personality on who leadership was trusted upon at a crucial period in a nation’s history.
“Navigating the country through the dark days of civil war, his philosophy of ‘No victor, no vanquished’ and the subsequent rehabilitation, reconciliation and reconstruction project revealed a personality with unflinching commitment to the unity of the country.
“It is on record that the unprecedented developmental projects executed during his regime marked the golden era of our national life. Dr. Gowon is indeed a phenomenon.
“Rising form the ashes of the civil war, Dr. Gowon was able to put the nation together and rallied political leaders to achieve the much wanted unity in the country.”
Gowon’s deep humanism, Otunba Daniel said, reflects in his involvement in the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme as well as the HIV Programme.
It was also in fulfilment of his unflinching commitment to a peaceful and united Nigeria, free of disease and poverty, where every citizen has an opportunity for self expression and the realisation of their full potentials that he founded the Yakubu Gowon Centre to work on issues in Nigeria such as good governance as well as infectious disease control including HIV/AIDS, guinea worm and malaria, Daniel said in the statement.
He added that his ‘elder statesman’ role in African politics also underscores his phenomenal posture in and beyond the continent, making him one of the greatest and most celebrated Nigerians of all times.