Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Gowon - Epitome of Statesmanship

Fri, 10/19/2012 - 17:57 -- Sylvanus Agbo
Written By: 
Nwobodo Chidiebere, 19 October 2012

General Yabuku Gowon, the longest serving former Head of State and Commander-in- chief of the armed forces of Nigeria is not only a statesman, but a true leader in all ramifications, who has worked tirelessly for the unity and peace of Nigeria.

General Yabuku Gowon, the longest serving former Head of State and Commander-in- chief of the armed forces of Nigeria is not only a statesman, but a true leader in all ramifications, who has worked tirelessly for the unity and peace of Nigeria.
The history book of this nation cannot be complete without outlining the patriotic, selfless and visionary role he has been playing to maintain the unbreakable unity of the most populous black nation on planet-earth. As General Yakubu Gowon today celebrates his 78 years on the voyage of life, the golden and indelible foot prints he is leaving on the sands of time would never be wiped off. General Yakubu Gowon (GCFR) is not only an embodiment of statesmanship; he is the very essence of humility and simplicity.
His well-articulated ideology and purpose-driven life's philosophy has made him a difference-maker and a standard-bearer in the affairs of this nation. He has not only become a yardstick to measure excellence and wisdom; he has become a role-model and source of inspiration to Nigeria youths. His long-held belief that leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration motivated by passion, generated by a vision, produced by a conviction, ignited by a purpose has been the driving force behind all his actions. The characteristics of the people's General could be likened to a mythical bird called the Phoenix, which was legendary in its ability to reborn from its own ashes, implying that it was immortal. According to some Middle Eastern fables, the Phoenix has a lifespan of 1000 years.
Near the end of each cycle, it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn ferociously and are reduced to ashes, from which a new Phoenix arises, reborn anew to lives again. In the annals of modern Nigeria, General Yakubu Gowon resembles this fabled giant bird, his ageless, idle-less statecraft and unwavering and passionate belief in bequeathing the young and future generations of Nigerians a prosperous and one united country, that would not only be the giant of Africa or the pride of every Nigerian, but a symbol of greatness that would help in redefining and fulfilling the destiny of every black person round the world!
The people's General piloted the affairs of this great nation during the civil war, the most difficult and turbulent period this country has ever witnessed. His statecraft and leadership qualities were shown during those hard period which ultimately affirmed what Martin Luther King, Jnr., said that, "the ultimate measure of a man is not when he finds himself in moment of pleasure and comfort, but during controversies and challenges", his passion to keep Nigeria as one during those trying times was stronger than the challenges he faced as a head of states and commander-in-chief of arm forces which enabled him to pilot the affairs of this great nation across those stormy and challenging moments.
General Gowon did not fight the civil war to display his Military Prowess or to maim any Nigerian irrespective of his tribe, Religion and language, but to keep the dream candle burning which our founding fathers like Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo ignited together to keep alive the spirit of one inseparable nation called Nigeria! The people's General proved that what motivated him to embark on the unexpected journey through the tough and hard road of civil war was not to show his military might against any ethnic group or geo-political zone of this country, but to keep Nigerians as one when he made that thunderous and heroic statement immediately after the civil war when he proclaimed, "no victor; no vanquished", he also initiated so many programmes that helped in rebuilding Nigeria after the war which enabled Nigeria to be re-integrated together again as one strong nation.
Since his exit from the corridors of power, he has remained the only former military leader to maintain apolitical stance As a statesman and one of the founding fathers of ECOWAS, the people's General has been playing the indispensable role of an elder statesman by ensuring stability, economic, and political emancipation of not only West Africa in particular; but Africa in general, which is in line with the vision and ideology of the founding fathers of Africa like the Nelson Mandela of South Africa; Nkwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, and numerous other Africa leaders who laid down their precious lives for the emancipation of Africa from the captivity and longevity of the colonial masters.
As the people's General celebrates his purpose-driven 78 years on the voyage of life, we will pause a while as a mark of honour to give standing ovation for true nationalist and Pan-Africanist, whose life has made an indelible mark on the political annals of Nigeria, by ensuring that the only vision and mission of keeping Nigeria as one indivisible and inseparable entity, which he has worked and still working for, are not altered. His well-articulated vision of keeping Nigeria as one irrespective of the challenges facing its nationhood is exemplified by the true meaning of his name Gowon, which became an acronym that translates to Go-On-With-One-Nigeria.

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