Gowon said the late leader saved Nigeria from the civil war that lasted between 1967 and 1970
Gowon said Awolowo teamed up with notable Nigerians to keep the country together
A former Nigerian head of state Yakubu Gowon has said that Nigeria was saved from breaking up by the later Obafemi Awolowo.
Gowon said the late leader saved Nigeria from the civil war that lasted between 1967 and 1970.
Speaking during the 2017 Obafemi Awolowo Memorial Lecture and posthumous birthday organised by the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation in Lagos, Gowon said Awolowo teamed up with notable Nigerians to keep the country together.
“Awolowo teamed up with us and helped keep Nigeria together without borrowing a kobo during the war,” Gowon said.
“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.
The former head of state also denied claims that Nigeria acquired so much wealth but was ignorant of what to do with it.
Also, Emeka Anyaoku, a former Commonwealth Secretary General said Nigeria’s founding fathers would be disappointed by disrespect meted out to the judiciary by the federal government.
Anyaoku said: “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,” Anyaoku said.
“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 added.