Former National Chairman, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has commended former Military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon for his selfless and meritorious service to the country.
Tukur made the commendation at a dinner to mark the 85th birthday of Gowon, organized by the Institute for Governance and Leadership Studies in Africa, on Friday in Abuja.
He described Gowon as a living legend, an epitome of unity and oneness of Nigeria, adding that it would require a complete book to summarize Gowon’s contributions to the development of the country.
According to him, Gowon piloted the affairs of the nation during her most difficult moment of the Civil War, which he ended with humility by declaring a ‘No Victor, No Vanquish.
“He followed it up with massive infrastructural development such as roads, railways, airports, hospitals, schools and the expansion of the Ports facilities to clear the Cement Armada required for the massive infrastructural investment of the time via his Triple ‘R’ (Reconciliation, Reconstruction, and Rehabilitation).”
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He recalled that Gowon introduced the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to foster national unity and cohesion and promulgated the Indigenisation and Nationalisation Decree to empower Nigerians to benefit from the newly found black gold (crude oil).
Tukur, who said that everything about Gowon was about unity, described him as a “true Nigerian whose name is an acronym for unity, ‘Go-On-With-One-Nigeria’, GOWON.”
He applauded the effort of the current administration to bring to total closure on the Nigerian Civil War, just as the United State of America did, by paying the pensions and gratuities of the defunct Biafran soldiers.
“With this national healing, the painful episode of our history as a Nation will be totally closed, for us to open a new page that will usher in a new way of life for a stronger, united and economically vibrant Nigeria for this generation and the next generation premised on a solid foundation built by the likes of Gowon.
“General Gowon’s monumental services will remain a reference point in our political, military and governmental history,” Tukur said.
The Guest Speaker, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, said Gowon was one of the few public figures he cherished and admired, adding that Gowon had mentored many people across faith.
Speaking on theme, “Leadership in Troubled Times,” Fayemi described Gowon as a very honest and humble person who dedicated himself to the service of the country at the early stage of his life.
“Gen. Gowon is very special to Ekiti State. Where there are good elders children will not go astray and I recommend him to young Nigerians as a mentor and role model for the younger generation within the political space.
“Gowon has become to Nigeria what Abraham Lincoln is to the US. He doesn’t criticize the current president rather advise him in secret. He command respect of Nigerians across faiths.