How Awolowo saved Nigeria from breaking up during civil war – Gowon
Former military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon has revealed how late sage, Obafemi Awolowo saved Nigeria from breaking up during the civil war that lasted between 1967-1970.
Gowon made this revelation on Monday at this year’s edition of the Obafemi Awolowo Memorial Lecture and posthumous birthday organised by the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation in Lagos.
“Awolowo teamed up with us and helped keep Nigeria together without borrowing a kobo during the war.
“He and the team of elders, who were in my government at the time, advised us, and we took a decision that was in the best interest of Nigeria,” he said.
Gowon also refuted the saying that the country had so much money, but didn’t know what to do with it, a statement that had been attributed to him for many years.
Also speaking at the event, a former Commonwealth Secretary General, Emeka Anyaoku said the founding fathers of Nigeria would have been disappointed by what he described as the disrespect to the judiciary by the Federal Government.
“I wonder how Nigeria’s founding fathers, like Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello, would feel with the present situation in the country.
“They would be disappointed that instead of having viable federating units, we have weaker and non viable units with an all powerful government at the centre, which stifles competition and growth.
“They would also be disappointed that the Federal Government disrespects the judiciary and disobeys court orders; our fathers would be disappointed with the direction the country is headed.
“I, therefore, urge those who are involved in government to emulate the likes of Awolowo and Azikiwe.
“The last two recipients, Wole Soyinka and Thabo Mbeki qualified for the award because they possess the qualities which are great integrity, impressive capacity, consistency in convictions, impeccable patriotism, love of country without considering personal sacrifice involved,” Anyaoku said.