Nigeria’s former military president, Yakubu Gowon has openly canvassed for an Igbo president to preside over the affairs of Nigeria in the nearest future.
According to Gowon, an Igbo president in Nigeria, would help heal the Nigerian civil war wounds and encourage rotational presidency among the geo-political regions in the country.
Gowon expressed his opinion while delivering a lecture entitled “No Victor, No Vanquished: Healing the Nigerian Nation” to mark the 6th Convocation ceremony of the Chukwumeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), Igbariam, in Anambra.
According to The News Agency of Nigeria, Gowon explained to the audience that the Nigerian civil war was not out of hatred for the late Igbo leader Odumegwu Ojukwu or the Igbos, but was based on the principle of a commitment to a robust and united Nigeria.
“It is wrong to conclude that the civil war broke out following the failure of the Aburi Accord but was the direct result of a unilateral decision of independence for Eastern Nigeria.
“If there was no seccession, there would have been no war. It was a reluctant war waged to unite the country,” Gowon said.
He acknowledged that many South easterners died of hunger and diseases during the civil war but insisted that the Federal Government didn’t use starvation as a weapon of war.
He revealed that the three Rs of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction were adopted to enhance national unity while arguing that the abandonment of the development plan drafted immediately after the war by successive governments, resulted in the infrastructural decay in the country.
Gowon, however, lauded Ojukwu for his courage in defending his people during the war, saying: “if Ojukwu were in my shoes, he would have equally waged the war.”
He commended the Anambra government and management of the university for honouring Ojukwu with the change in name of the institution from Anambra State University to COOU.
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra, who lauded Gowon for honouring the invitation, said education was dear to his administration.
Represented by the state Commissioner for Education, Professor Kate Omenugha, Anambra state governor, Willie Obiano, praised the former president for honouring the invitation of the university.
He informed the audience a blue print for the development of higher education would soon be implemented in the state, even as he said education was dear to his administration.