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Gowon Signed Off Nigeria To Fulanis During The Civil War – Dr Ikedife |RN

By Correspondent

A former President-General of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr Dozie Ikedife, spoke with OKEGWO KENECHUKWU on the sundry issue. Excerpts:

 

What should be the expectation of Ndigbo as President Muhammadu Buhari prepares to run for a second tenure?
This raises a question whether the Igbo should support Buhari to win so that in 2023, Ndigbo will have an indisputable right to field a candidate for the Presidency or they should allow him to be defeated by perhaps another Northerner, who will be there for another eight years and that will cancel the chances of a candidate from the South East in 2023.
Another important question is what do those in Biafra land want. Is it Nigerian presidency or self-determination or the actualisation of Biafra. That is an issue that has to be resolved. These are the questions to be answered with as much rationalisation and logic as possible.

Who among the Igbo would answer these questions?
It is a difficult one. You will notice that if any group comes up to talk, another group will stand up and discredit it. It makes the thing look cacophonic. There is a disharmonious communication. One person will say one thing, another person will counter it and say a different thing.
A case in point to illustrate what I’m saying is what happened recently. The President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, got a report that the youth wing of Ohaneze had sacked him. What did he do? What is their locus for saying that? Is it the tail wagging the dog or the dog wagging the tail? All these kinds of situations are proofs of what I’m saying. The Igbo have to get their house in order. The people of Biafra land should get their house in order.

We have Alaigbo Development Foundation, South East Elders Forum and Even the Supreme Council of Indigenous People of Biafra, apart from Ohaneze Ndigbo. Which among these groups is qualified to address the issues?
Of course, they are all qualified. They are all legitimate Igbo organisation working for the interest of the Igbo people.

What is your own perception of the declaration of President Buhari to contest in 2019?
These are issues that have to be balanced. Buhari has every right to contest if he so wished. It is for the Nigerian electorate to decide whether he deserves a second tenure or not. There is a school of thought in assessing him, I think judging from the way he ran the first four years; the suffering of people of the South East and the cry of marginalisation, another four years will make it appear like 40 years of neglect and marginalisation of the whole of South East.
The reference point is the reaction to the so-called Fulani herdsmen’s sacking of villages, communities and towns, planting themselves and carrying dangerous weapons without licences.

Why do you think the Fulani herdsmen attacks have continued unabated?
Now, it is understood that certain things happened during the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War. Biafra declared its independence on May 30, 1967, and the then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, said he was declaring a war against Biafra and expected that it would last for few weeks. He then underrated the resistance and resolve of the Biafrans.
When the thing did not end in three weeks as he expected, he engaged mercenaries who came and fought, took their money and left. But Biafrans did not surrender. Then he was told that the Nigerian troops could take Port Harcourt, that so long as PortHarcourt was in Biafra land, Biafra will not cave in. To reach Port Harcourt, he apparently signed an agreement with the people of Cameroon that they should allow him access through Bakassi area to Port Harcourt and at the end of the war, Cameroon should take Bakassi. That was done.
He signed that agreement as Nigeria signing away part of Biafran land while at that time Biafra was a sovereign state of its own recognised by some countries and Nigeria should have no legal right to sign away any part of its land. Notwithstanding, Biafra did not fall.
Gowon was said to have obliged to enlist help from Muslim soldiers from other West African countries where a good number of them came to help fight and decimated Biafra to bring it back to Nigeria. The condition for that service was that they would be allowed grazing rights all the way down Eastern Region, that was agreed.
And it appeared that looking back after the war, Cameroon claimed Bakassi and sacked natives of Bakassi who said they were Nigerians. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo as at that time took the case to the International Court of Justice (ICC) which ruled against Nigeria.
Similarly, Fulani herdsmen from neighbouring countries are of the assertion that based on the agreement with the Nigerian government during the civil war, they will graze their cattle at any place they want. And they now have the temerity to sack villages, communities and towns. And when they do, they just set up their homes and it appears that Buhari’s hands are tied because of that agreement allegedly signed by Gowon.

Is there no way the agreement could be reversed?
The legal questions are: Did Gowon have the right to sign away Biafran land if he did that when Biafra was standing as a sovereign state? Did he consult the people of Biafra then? Did any of them join in signing? Did he get their consent before signing it? If he did not consult the people of Biafra, is that agreement legitimate, is it binding? These are questions that deserve resolution by a court of
law. (New Telegraph)

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My Heart Bleeds Over Insecurity In Nigeria, Says Gowon |The Republican News

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Ex-military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon with Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha

  • As Okorocha warns against politicizing national challenges

Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

Former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon has expressed dismay over the incessant insecurity challenges in Nigeria, saying that his heart bleeds over the activities of Boko Haram, herdsmen, and other armed militants, whose actions he described as man’s inhumanity to man.

General Gowon spoke when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Rochas Okorocha at the Government House Owerri over the weekend, as part of his tour for a prayer rally in the country.

Gowon stated that Nigeria needs peace so that all its people can live and work together in the interest of one another and in the overall interest of the country.

According to the former Head of State, with prayers God can touch the hearts of all those involved in the terror killings like he touched that of the biblical Saul, who he changed to become an instrument of transformation instead of destruction, adding that no situation is too difficult for God to change for the better.

“After the Civil War, from this town Owerri, I visited Nsukka, Enugu, Abakeliki, Umuahia, and Onitsha. We were impressed with the way the children turned out to welcome us. They were saying, you are our parents, our leaders, please do not allow any Nigerian child to suffer what we suffered,” Gowon said, recalling the experience of the Nigerian Civil War.

“God can touch one’s heart and change the person into becoming a vessel of peace. My prayer for every Nigerian man is to live in harmony. We would wish every man and woman and religious leaders to rally round and assist in any way possible. Every one of us has a role to play, not only the leaders. That is why we seek for God’s intervention,” Gowon said.

He further added that “without peace, we cannot go further. Let us continue to pray and do whatever we can to achieve the peace we all desire. Your role and our collective role is important.”

Explaining his reason for the visit, Gowon said: “We are in Imo for the Nigeria Prayer Rally. A prayer rally we have been doing throughout the geopolitical zones or States. This time around, it is for the South-East Zone to host the prayer rally, and Imo is hosting us. Your Excellency, we are grateful for the arrangements and support. We are impressed with your zeal and passion for Christ, suing for peace, which is what the country needs now,” the former military ruler said.

Governor Okorocha in his speech advised Nigerians to see the activities of groups like Boko Haram and others as national problems or challenges that require all hands to be on deck for solutions, but that the crises should not be politicized. He added that those who have lost their lives in the current troubles are people of all ethnic backgrounds, religions and political affiliations.

The Governor called on Nigerians, regardless of their religious and political persuasions, to come up with ideas on how best to come out from the country’s challenges, and should stop talking in a manner that would aggravate the problems.

“The acronym Gowon means “Go On with One Nigeria,” Okorocha quipped. “If this leader (Gowon) seated with us here today had not ended the war the way it ended, giving room for no victor, no vanquished postulations, today we would not be having a nation called Nigeria. His name is synonymous with peace. A man who ended the Civil War without bad feelings.”

He further remarked about Gowon that “this gentleman is 84 years old. We will honour him in our state. We are happy that he is still looking strong and young. In the face of the crisis that we have today, he has continued to pray. I do not know what would have happened to the Nigerian situation if prayers like this are not going on all over Nigeria. Thank God, in the face of these challenges, we have men who are busy praying for the nation and her people,” Okorocha said.

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Nigeria’s Security Challenge Worrisome, Says Gowon |The Republican News

By Onyekachi Eze

Yakubu-Gowon

Gen. Yakubu Jack Gowon (Rtd)

Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd.) has described as worrisome, the security challenges facing the country. He, however, expressed the hope that the nation would not go through the path of civil war again. Also, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, faulted the conduct of government officials to the wanton killings by Fulani herdsmen, noting that the bloodletting is symptomatic of a failed state. Gowon and Dickson spoke at a National Prayer Conference in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Gowon, who is the convener of Nigeria Prays, said his prayer was that Nigeria should not go through the path of civil war again. A statement yesterday by Dickson’s media team quoted the former head of state as saying that Nigerian leaders were concerned with the growing insecurity in the country.

“This is worrisome. When I recall the end of the civil war, I had hoped and prayed that Nigeria would never go through the same experience again. This was what I prayed for and you can see how worrying it is. “All these spate of crises: Is it the militants, is it the Boko Haram, is it the so-called Fulani herdsmen? All sorts of things that are happening: man’s inhumanity to man, that is happening throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria.

“Sadly, it is worrying to all Nigerians and this is what all of us who are in leadership positions, your governor and his assistants, all the governors throughout the country, all of us who are leaders are concerned about it, and always aim for whatever they can do to put it under control. “But it is not only they that can do it.

They need the press and support of the people so that they can deal with the problem together. And this is our prayer, prayer for everyone in Nigeria and all Nigeria wherever they are. We hope for greater peace than what we have for now,” the former head of state added. He stressed the importance of prayers, which he said, could help solve Nigeria’s problems better and faster than military generals and soldiers could do with physical weapons of war.

The former head of state assured Nigerians that God would honour the collective prayers and intercession for the nation, while also advising people to shun violence and retaliation. On his part, Dickson said Nigerians must unite in prayers and resolve to work together to ensure fairness, justice, equity and equal citizenship.

“In this country, God’s children, human beings, irrespective of the God they worship, are being slaughtered mercilessly, remorselessly in many parts of the country. “Our nation is bleeding; we must unite in prayers and resolve to do what is right and fair. Our nation should be a nation of fairness, justice, equity, equal citizenship and united by common ideals of being the greatest black nation,” Dickson added. He called on the nation’s leaders to take the responsibility to stop the bloodletting, adding that this is the time Nigerians have to intensify prayers for the nation to overcome its challenges.

He said: “We are united by our common shared humanity and nationality, so injustice and unfairness anywhere should be a concern to anyone and everyone in our nation. “I join you in praying that the bloodletting, unnecessary killings in our nation under any shape or guise ends in Jesus’ name. “God should intervene so that people will feel the need to do the right thing, be fair and just to one another.”    (New Telegraph)

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Despite Agitation, Nigeria Won’t Break Up, Says Gowon |The Republican News

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Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd)

Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan

A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, on Monday, said despite the agitations in the country and other developments threatening the unity of Nigeria, the nation’s youths would keep the nation together.

Gowon spoke at the 50th-anniversary programme of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, a forum moderated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

A N152.5m project, executed to encourage youth involvement in agriculture, was also declared open as part of the anniversary.

At the event were the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who represented acting President Yemi Osinbajo; the Oyo State Deputy Governor, Moses Alake, who represented Governor Abiola Ajimobi; and the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji.

Others at the ceremony were the President, African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina; Chief Joe Makoju, who is the Special Adviser to President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; and other dignitaries from across Africa.

Asked if he was scared about the unity of Nigeria, Gowon said, “I am not scared for the unity of the nation. I have confidence in Nigeria and the youths of this country that they will make sure that they take over and do better than we left for them.

“I have no fear that all these rantings and so on, no; I have confidence that the youths of this nation will keep Nigeria going and make it greater. Diversity is our source of unity and strength.”

According to Gowon, Nigeria is at a great disadvantage in agriculture and food production because the average age of its farmers is 60 years.

He stated that there must be concerted efforts to trigger the interest of the nation’s youths in agriculture.

Gowon said, “The average age of farmers in Nigeria is 60 years; soon, they will pass on and that includes me. We have to encourage the younger ones to be interested in agriculture so that they can take over from the older generation that has been feeding the nation. This is what happens in Europe, America and China today and we must encourage it in Nigeria.

“During our time, agriculture was the main thing and plans were made for agro-allied development. We started to clear big areas for agriculture and inviting the federal and state governments, private sectors and even individuals to get involved in agriculture.”

In his speech, Obasanjo urged African countries to increase their interest in all aspects of agriculture and research while effort must be made to engage more women in agriculture.

The former President agreed with Gowon that Nigerian farmers were ageing, saying it was important to make agriculture attractive to the nation’s youths.

He stated, “Looking back, lITA has been a major blessing to the continent of Africa. In the past 50 years, the institute’s research has helped to avert major disasters that plagued African staples, including cassava and maize.”

Obasanjo added that Nigeria must commit itself to growing and eating its own indigenous foods, while also calling on the Federal Government to develop policies that would enable agriculture to grow and thrive.

Osinbajo, who was represented by Ogbeh, said Nigeria was heading for 450 million in population, arguing that feeding such a large population would be tough but possible.

“At over three per cent growth per annum, we are reportedly heading for 450 million persons by the year 2050; but feeding 450 million is tough though not impossible.

“If China and India did it, we too can. So, as we move on, we must reflect on the challenge of the quantity of output and quality of consumption. And to achieve this, we urge you (IITA) to engage in more research,” Osinbajo said.

The AfDB President, Adesina, commended IITA for contributing to agriculture in Africa.

“At the African Development Bank, we have decided to work with amazing institutions to help drive Africa’s agricultural sector transformation. The bank will be investing $24bn in agriculture over the next 10 years to help turn agriculture into a business all across Africa.

“Our goal is to ensure that Africa feeds itself within 10 years and unblocks the full potential of its agriculture,” he said. (Punchng.com)

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I Created States To Avoid Biafra Break Away, Says Yakubu Gowon |RN

 
Former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon has revealed why he created states in the country during his regime.
He said the creation of states became imperative following fears by minority ethnic groups in the country that the majority ones would swallow them up.
He added also that it was done to douse the fears of the country’s breakup.
General Gowon said this in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital where he was accompanied by his wife, Victoria to commission the newly built Bayelsa State Government House.
General Gowon said, “I was delighted to create those states…years ago. At that time, the political situation was very difficult.
“There were fears of the country breaking up, fears of domination of the minority and the question was, what were we going to do in order to remove this fear causing problems in Nigeria?
“Fears of being dominated by majority ethnic groups? The creation of states was to solve these fears.” (Daily Post)
 
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