Former Nigerian head of state, Yakubu Gowon has reiterated that Nigeria’s unity was not negotiable, urging Nigerians to continuously work towards achieving national unity regardless of religion, ethnicity and political affiliations, adding that the successes recorded by his government was as a result of the cooperation of his advisers at the time.
Vanguard reports that Gowon made the assertion in Abuja on the occasion of a lecture organised to mark his 80th birthday, as he beckoned on patriotic Nigerians to protect the unity and development of Nigeria which his administration had fought for.
Also speaking at the occasion was former head of interim national government, Earnest Shonekan hailed Gowon as a humble, simple and God fearing leader, adding that he was a mad who leads by example who believes in the country’s unity irrespective of the diversity.
He said Gowon’s belief in a united Nigeria was evident in the establishing of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)
Shonekan said: “His mark and positive contribution to the development of the country will continue to speak for him.
“One lesson I want us to take home is that, we should learn to respect our constituted authorities and stop running them down.
“If we continue to run our leaders down, no foreigner will come and develop our country for us,”
Vice president, Namadi Sambo, who was represented by secretary to the government Anyim Pius Anyim said Nigeria’s history will be incomplete without the mention of Gowon as a result of his posotive contribution to the country, adding that his administration saw a surge in infrastructural development in the country.
He also said that Gowon’s reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation program was instrumental in returning Nigeria to its lost glory after the civil war. He added that that asides NYSC, Gowon was a major contributor to the formative process of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).