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After 54 Years of a Lie, Yakubu Gowon Finally Confesses to Initiating Nigerian Civil War

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ABUJA, Nigeria – In a revelation that has sent shockwaves through Nigeria and beyond, General Yakubu Gowon, former Head of State, confessed to being responsible for initiating the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War, a conflict that lasted from 1967 to 1970 and is one of the darkest chapters in the country’s history.

This admission challenges longstanding narratives about the war’s origins and casts a new light on its complex dynamics.

During a press briefing following his visit to President Bola Tinubu at the State House in Abuja on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, Gowon, who led Nigeria between 1966 and 1975, made the stunning revelation.

The former military ruler’s acknowledgment of his role in starting the conflict that claimed millions of lives and caused widespread suffering, particularly among women and children, has prompted a reassessment of the historical account of the civil war.

Gowon’s candid admission came amidst discussions with President Tinubu regarding the criticisms the current administration has faced since taking office in May 2023.

Drawing parallels between his leadership during the war and the challenges faced by Tinubu’s administration, Gowon urged Nigerians to grant the President more time to address the nation’s socioeconomic issues.

“I was telling him that there’s no Nigerian leader that can get there, that will not get all of these; all that is being said about him,” Gowon stated. He further emphasised the importance of patience and understanding from the Nigerian populace, suggesting that criticism is a natural part of leadership and should not deter the President from pursuing his objectives.

The former Head of State also reflected on the pressures he faced during the war, acknowledging that many doubted Nigeria’s ability to overcome the conflict and suggesting discussions as a potential solution.

“At least, if I remembered, I was told that I was too slow, fighting the war and that probably Nigeria would not make it and that we should seek for discussion. Well, did we do it or not? They probably did not know the problem there on the ground there,” Gowon explained.

This confession not only vindicates the late Odumegwu Ojukwu, leader of the breakaway Republic of Biafra, who had long implored Gowon to disclose the truth about the war’s inception but also invites a reevaluation of the historical narrative surrounding one of Africa’s most devastating conflicts.

The implications of Gowon’s admission are profound, opening up conversations about accountability, reconciliation, and the complexities of leadership in times of crisis. As Nigeria grapples with this new understanding of its past, the focus turns to how this revelation will influence the country’s path toward healing and unity.

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