Nigeria: My Emergence As Head of State Accidental – Gowon

A former Head of State, retired General Yakubu Gowon, said yesterday his emergence as the country’s leader in 1966 was accidental as he had no prior ambition of occupying the office.

Speaking when the Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Shehu Sani, visited him in Abuja, Gowon said it was an act of providence that he became a military leader at the age of 31.

He was reacting to calls by some Nigerians to reduce the age limit to contest for the post of president to 30 years.

“I had no intention to become Head of State, but it was the opportunity that came, and if opportunities present themselves and people ask you to do it, then do it.

“What happened was an accident of history. When you have lost your leadership and there is crisis and you don’t know what to do and it happens that those within your constituency choose you, what will you do?

“I was lucky enough within the military at that time and all the officers knew me by reputation. What I achieved was from God. I had never thought of becoming Head of State, but there was a coup and all my senior colleagues were killed and I was the only one that survived,” he said.

Gowon said his plan was to rise in the military.

“I didn’t know what happened, but I had the duty and responsibility to ensure that the coup in Lagos did not succeed,” he said.

He added that he believed his ascension to power was because he was “equipped,” and urged Nigerian youths to ensure that they were prepared morally and academically in order to utilize such opportunities when the need arises.

He added that when it became clear to him that we would be the Head of State after the coup, he resorted to prayers for the wisdom and the ability to do what was good for the people. He advised Nigerians to always put God first in whatever they do.

Source: Daily Trust.