Thursday, 20 October 2011
General Yakubu Gowon is the best military leader that ruled Nigeria and as Humble as GEJ Written by *Labaran Maku
Photo: Labaran Maku and General Yakubu Gowon
I extend my congratulations to former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (GCFR) for attaining the age of 77 today. As we mark the birthday of the General, it is pertinent that we use the occasion to reflect on the man Yakubu Gowon.
He is the best military leader that ruled Nigeria because of his rare quality of humility. A typical soldier whom providence bestowed on his shoulder the enormous responsibility of leading our nation through its most turbulent years in history. As a young military officer, at the age of 36, Gowon was able to provide the needed leadership for Nigeria throughout the period of the civil war and the country emerged stronger from the ashes of the war. Through the slogan “No Victor, No Vanquished” Nigeria came out of the civil war as a more cohesive and united entity.
Gowon’s vision of rebuilding the country through “Rehabilitation, Reconciliation and Reconstruction” recorded remarkable successes. He launched the first National Development Plan for the nation.
General Gowon led an economic expansion that recorded 11.5% growth. He built trunk ‘A’ roads and institutions of learning across the country and developed Lagos to an international commercial city. In 1974, he decided to transfer the nation’s capital from Lagos to Abuja. The National Youth Service Corps today remained one of the legacies of General Gowon.
However, General Gowon is the most uncelebrated leader in the country. Indeed, the true story of Nigeria will never be told until his rare qualities are acknowledged.
I think there is a parallel between General Gowon and President Goodluck Jonathan. They both rose from humble background to the most exalted office in the land. They are humble, patriotic, visionary and exude the uncommon quality of the Fear of God in the discharge of their duties.
The youth of this country have a lot to learn from the sterling qualities of General Gowon, particularly the acknowledgement that age is not a barrier to leadership. Youthful age is always an advantage. All the world leaders that changed the universe are youths because of their idealism and vigour. The youth remain those who can lead this nation and indeed the world forward.
Today, about 65% of Nigeria’s population is below the age of 35. Therefore, the most valuable asset of this country is not its natural and mineral resources but its youthful population. We are today celebrating Nigerian youth using General Gowon as the pedestal.
I urge the youth to summon courage and surmount contemporary challenges of development. I believe period of crisis provides a fertile ground for the youth to rise up and rewrite history.
The youth should be the vanguard of the campaign for moral reawakening in the country in order to reverse the collapse of our value system. The absence of peace can threaten development. The youth should champion the crusade for peaceful co-existence in the country in order to guarantee our future.
We must eschew the differences of tribe, section or religion and imbibe the qualities of discipline, honour, patriotism, solidarity, selfless service and sacrifice, sanctity of human life and the fear of God. Once we are united and stronger, we can harness our talents and intellects to pursue the common cause of our development and make the country a better place for ourselves and generations to come.
I congratulate General Yakubu Gowon once again on his 77th birthday. Labaran Maku.
NOTE: *Mr Labaran Maku then “RADICAL” Students Union President of The University of Jos led a Protest against the government of General Ibrahim Babangida when the later proposed an increase in the pump price of petroleum in Nigeria. Labaran described the slight increase by Babangida as an attempt to Kill Nigerians and a crime against humanity, several students received injuries, with reports of others missing.
Today as minister of Information for current Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Mr Labaran is a member of Jonathan’s 'kitchen cabinet' (CABAL) pushing for a complete removal of Oil Subsidy in Nigeria.
He calls the removal a 'nessacry and brave move by the Jonathan administration taken in the National Interest'. The minister in late 2010 infamously claimed that President Jonathan “introduced Nigerians to Facebook” and that Nigeria should have the president to thank for such great initiative.
Labaran Maku who as Students Union leader tag ALL past military rulers in Nigeria as “EVIL MEN WHO SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE”. In the article above, now writing as Minister of Information, Mr Maku now describe Yakubu Gowon, the war time (BIAFRA WAR) leader of Nigeria as “THE BEST MILTARY LEADER THAT RULED NIGERIA”
Kayode Ogundamisi is a commentator on Nigerian and international affairs, he was involved in the Nigerian pro-democracy struggle, Ogundamisi survived a trumped up charge of treasonable offence against the military government of General Babangida, he was detained in Jos prison in 1991 and released after intensive local and international campaigns against the government charging him and 12 other students before a military tribunal. Ogundamisi was a frontline member of the National Association of Nigerian Student and a former secretary general of the the University of Jos Students Union in Nigeria and the O'dua Peoples Congress.