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Gowon: Why Nigeria has remained together

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…says Ojukwu never believed I would go to war

By Ikenna Asomba

Elated by the successful outcome of the last general elections, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, yesterday, said that despite the assertions of naysayers and uncertified futurologists, who predicted the break-up of Nigeria in 2015, the effective prayers of the people of faith moved the hands of God to intervene in the affairs of the country.

In his remark, at a lecture entitled, ‘The Church and Nigerian Nation: Impact, Challenges and the Way Forward,’ to mark the 60th anniversary of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria, FGCN, at the National Headquarters of the Church in Lagos, Gowon, who chaired the occasion, said that Nigeria had remained together should surprise no one because God had given the nation the assurance that He would always answer Nigerians whenever they call upon Him.

Recalling the events that led to the civil war in 1967-1970, he said, jokingly that his colleague, late  Chukwuemeka Ojukwu never believed he (Gowon) would call out Nigeria’s fighting forces to fight against the Biafran side in order to keep Nigeria one.

*Gowon and Ojukwu
*Gowon and Ojukwu

According to Gowon, the Bible had consistently been his companion from childhood till date, adding that his colleague, Ojukwu had said then, he (Gowon) was a Christian, who carried around suitcase with a Bible inside, and so would not like to call out the Nigerian federal forces to war in order to stop the secession.

Gowon said: “All my life, from childhood to this present day, the Bible has consistently been my companion. I discovered quite early that every word of God contained therein speaks to every situation in the life of every man or woman, great or small, and to occurrences in every nation, big or small.

“Since these words are self-evidently true, they are reliable and unfailing. This should surprise no one because God Himself gave us the assurance that He would always answer when we call upon Him.

“You will agree that, across time, happenings in our fatherland have almost always ensured that people of faith across denominations in Christendom and in Islam kept unending vigil for the love of country.

“Let me share a joke of what happened before the civil war in 1967-1970. I think it was my colleague Emeka Ojukwu that said I know Jack, he is a Christian, who always carries a suitcase around with the Bible inside. He wouldn’t like to fight. Unfortunately, he was proved wrong. However, it was through the grace of God, that we were able to keep Nigeria one.

“After the civil war, it was wisdom from God to willing and obedient hearts that helped us to initiate and implement programmes that best served the interest of the people. It was God that helped to stem the tide of bloody coups in Nigeria so that we can enjoy democracy today.

“Even when naysayers wrote off this nation and various uncertified futurologists predicted the break-up of Nigeria by 2015 as a bye-product of the recently concluded general elections, the effective prayers of people of faith moved the hands of God and He once more intervened in the affairs of our dear country.”


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