General Yakubu Gowon — 50 years later

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General Yakubu Gowon was proclaimed leader of Nigeria on 01.08.1966,after the Nigerian army staged the second coup in an year.(it is known as the Nigerian Counter-Coup).(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1966_Nigerian_counter-coup) He was only 32 years of age at the time.A career military officer,who had no political interest or experience.

I have studied the career of General Gowon, who was president of Nigeria and his term in office to know a number of things that could help us back here.
1.How to rise against partisanship.
2. Secessionist wars can be won through military means,without much resources.(He successfully fought and ended the secessionist war in Biafra in 1970).
3. How reconciliation should happen after a victory.
4.How to treat the vanquished.
5. How to take the momentum of a war victory to bring progress to a country.
6.How to gracefully bow down after a defeat. Gowon was overthrown in another Coup in 1975,and he went to Britain to resume the interrupted studies and ended up with a Phd.
7.How to serve the broader interests in other ways.Gowon was,and is still,active in many non-political activities,both in Nigeria and in Africa and is now considered one of the much respected elder statesmen of Africa.
*** Interestingly,Biafrans had the first rebel air force in the world,and this too was a subject of much interest and study since the LTTE also formed an air wing(Air Tigers) and some people,out of sheer ignorance,tried to hail it as the “first rebel air force of the world.”

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Jagath Gunawardana Attorney-at-law

 

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