President Muhammadu Buhari has described former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon as “a gallant patriot whose commitment to national unity is beyond comparison in the annals of our chequered history.”
This is as the Northern Governors’ Forum also congratulating Gowon, described him as a distinguished statesman.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday to mark the occasion of Gen. Gowon’s 86th birthday anniversary, President Buhari remarked that “the role General Yakubu Gowon played in our political history and infrastructure development is etched in stone and cannot be rewritten.”
Buhari said “as young military officers, many of us regarded General Gowon as our role model because of his patriotism, commitment to unity and his humility.”
According to the President, “the Nigerian civil war brought out the most brilliant qualities of General Gowon as a visionary leader who put the interest of Nigeria before his own personal interest.”
He noted that “the former Head of State led a very impressive national reconciliation effort at the end of the civil war in order to heal the bitter emotional and psychological wounds of the fratricidal conflict.”
President Buhari added that “General Gowon is one of the fairest leaders I have ever known who has inspired so many future leaders.”
“Even in the context of Africa, many leaders in the continent draw inspiration from his adroit handling of the outcome of the civil war through his policy of ‘No Victor, No Vanquished,’” he further stated.
“As he marks 86 years of age, Nigerians cannot forget General Gowon’s immeasurable contributions to the unity and development of Nigeria. May God continue to bless him with more good health and the needed strength in understanding his ongoing spiritual engagements and service to humanity,” the President prayed.
The Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong, in a congratulatory message by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham on Sunday in Jos, also described Gowon as a gentleman, a prayer warrior and a bridge builder, who spent most of his lifetime working for the peace, unity and progress of Nigeria.
Lalong said Gowon remained one of Nigeria’s finest leaders, whose exemplary lifestyle of humility and enormous sacrifices toward nation building and global peace was well recognised.
He said Gowon had continued to provide inspiration to the nation’s leadership and development, through his commitment to the unity, peace and progress of the country from his military career till date.
He thanked the former Nigerian leader for his patriotism.
Lalong noted that Gowon had continued to take particular interest in the development of the Northern region, particularly at this current period it was facing challenges including insurgency and banditry.
The chairman urged the former Head of State to continue to deploy his wealth of experience and knowledge in the pursuit of unity and national integration, especially as the nation was undergoing challenges.
He wished Gowon good health, God’s grace and divine strength.
Gowon was born on Oct. 19, 1934 in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau.
He was Nigeria’s military leader, who served as Head of State from 1967 to 1975.