The body of the former Head of Interim National Government (ING), Ernest Shonekan, has been laid to rest in Lagos State amid tributes.
Shonekan was buried on Friday at the Ebony Vaults in Ikoyi, following a funeral service held at the Cathedral Church of Christ – ending a five-day event that began on Monday.
Among the dignitaries present at the funeral of the former Nigerian leader included the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon; and former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The governors in attendance were Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), and Godwin Obaseki (Edo), as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; and Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, among others.
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated former military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon on his 87th birthday.
The President sent his wishes via a statement signed by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Tuesday.
“President Buhari congratulates Gen. Yakubu on the formidable role he continues to play in the development of the country, always advocating peace and unity, and consistently remaining a voice of reason and wisdom in good governance and democracy,” the statement said.
“As the former Head of State turns 87, the President notes, with commendation and gratitude, the statesmanship of the Convener and National Chairman of ‘Nigeria Prays’, whose vision for a greater country resonates in the programmes he instituted in the 70’s like the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), creation of states and the Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation project, which has turned a reference for harmony.
“The President believes that grace and fortune continue to guide Gen. Gowon, starting out as a career soldier, youngest military Chief of Staff and youngest Head of State, before turning a Professor of Political Science and founder of the Yakubu Gowon Centre, an organization that continues to support issues of good governance, infectious disease control, HIV/AIDS and malaria.
“President Buhari joins family, friends and Nigerians in praying for longer life for the visionary leader.”
The House of Representatives has resolved to invite the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing over the recent comment made by a British lawmaker against former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon.
The planned invitation is to seek an explanation from the British envoy why no apology has been issued despite calls for same.
On November 23, a member of the British parliament accused Gowon of taking half of the money in the Central Bank of Nigeria with him when he went on exile.
But during plenary on Tuesday, the House mandated its Committee on Foreign Affairs to interface with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British parliament over the comments.
According to the House, the allegation of looting by a member of the British House of Commons against Gowon is capable of causing a crisis in Nigeria and disturbing the peace of the country.
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has dismissed the allegations of money laundering levelled against him by a member of the United Kingdom parliament.
The elder statesman condemned the claims in an interview with Channels Television on Thursday, three days after the UK lawmaker, Tom Tugendhat, accused him of looting half of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He stated that it was disappointing that a British parliamentarian could make such a statement without checking the facts.
“It is certainly surprising, and I am disappointed that a British parliamentarian could make such a statement without checking the facts of what he was saying.
“I honestly was disappointed that such a remark is made,” the former Nigerian leader told Channels Television London correspondent via telephone.
He insisted that there was no time when he was held or questioned for money laundering, stressing that the allegation that he looted the nation’s treasury was false.
Check My Record
General Gowon, who said he heard about the allegation from social media, insisted that there was nothing to hide and the record was there for the lawmaker and the British authorities to check.
He also called on the UK government to take the necessary step to order, stressing that making an allegation of such was an insult to him and Nigeria as a nation.
Watch the video of the UK parliament’s deliberation to which the Nigerian government is reacting below:
The former Head of State said, “The record of my service to the nation is there for everybody to see and even the British government itself, and I don’t know why somebody got the information to make such a very ridiculous statement.
“I am disappointed with that one and I hope the British authority will do something to rightly bring that parliamentarian to order to check his facts before he makes such allegation because it is more or less an insult to the leadership of Nigeria and certainly an insult to me to say that I did something of the sort to take half of Nigeria’s Central Bank and I must have put it in a British bank.”
“So, he should check all the British banks to see whether any such thing has happened, and he (the UK lawmaker) will be surprised that I was not being held for money laundering,” he added.
General Gowon, 86, served as the Head of State from 1966 to 1975.
Tugendhat had accused General Gowon and some other leaders in Nigeria of robbing the people during a debate on a petition on #EndSARS at the UK parliament.
He also alleged that the leaders ran to London to hide the loots, adding that British banks were used for illegal transfer of assets.
General Gowon also reiterated that the peace and unity of the country were non-negotiable and urged the citizenry to support the government.
On her part, Mrs Balarabe aligned herself with the position of the elder statesman and thanked him for the visit.
She described General Gowon as a patriotic Nigerian, a role model, and source of inspiration to all Nigerians, especially for his passion in mobilising for prayers for the nation’s unity, security, and progress.
The former President wished the former Head of State more strength and peaceful years.
Similarly, former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, felicitated with General Gowon.
He also prayed that God grants the elder statesman more years to continue to serve his country.
Read the statement by former President Jonathan below:
I rejoice with you and all well-wishers as you mark your 85th birthday.
You are a courageous leader who served Nigeria with honour, pride, and love, especially at a difficult time in the life of our nation.
Long after you left office, your passion and patriotism have remained undiminished, as you have continued to work and fervently pray for our country’s growth and development.
As a statesman, you have remained resolutely committed to the peace and unity of Nigeria.
On behalf of my family, I wish you more strength and peaceful years as you celebrate.
Happy Birthday Your Excellency.
Also, read the tweet by former Vice President Atiku below:
My family and I, celebrate General Yakubu Gowon, on the occasion of his 85th birthday. May God in His infinite wisdom bless you now and always and may He grant you more years of meritorious service to a grateful nation. -AA
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has described a former Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, as a symbol of national unity.
In a message to mark the 85th birthday of the former Head of State, Gbajabiamila eulogised Gowon’s love for Nigeria and his belief in the oneness of the country.
One of the significant things which he credited to Gowon’s love for the country was his establishment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 1973.
The Speaker, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said “On this day, I join millions of Nigerians, and friends of Nigeria, to celebrate this icon and symbol of national unity as he marks 85 years on earth.
“In the years since he retired from active service, Gen Gowon has worked across the country to see to the establishment of peace and abiding prosperity and it is this work that will long be remembered as his greatest legacy.
“Nigerians will not forget in a hurry that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), which worked to bring Nigerians together at a critical time in our history is the brainchild of this great Nigerian. Indeed, the history of our country will not be complete without a mention of Gowon.
“On this occasion of his 85th birthday, I join fellow Nigerians in offering special prayers to Allah to grant General Gowon continuous good health, protection and guidance”.
Nigeria’s former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon has said that despite the number of graduates making Nigeria proud globally, the country’s education system is still plagued by inadequate infrastructure and human resources.
Mr Gowon made this known on Friday, during the 35th Convocation lecture of Bayero University, Kano.
He expressed concerns over the rising numbers of Nigerian Universities and the fact that they might not be able to get funds.
“Even as our universities continue to produce graduates that have done Nigeria proud at the world stage, the country’s education system is still plagued by inadequate infrastructure and human resources to meet global best practices.
“Nigeria now boasts of more than 100 universities, and I understand there are many more still awaiting licensing or are ready to commence operation.
“It is growing too fast and I think too many don’t know honestly, whether we can be able to really fund all these universities adequately,” he said.
He also stated that the problems facing the education sector is more of a socio-economic challenge and the universities can address the issues.
“At home, socio-economic problems continue to grow geometrically whilst actual development only make arithmetic progression, but is the university system alone to blame for this, I think not.
“Issues of corruption and insecurity, for example, are largely of character, not learning, they are issues that the university can confront alone, the society must be mobilised as one to get things right.”
He explained that solutions focused on the re-orientation of values should be at the front burner of discussions.
“We have a good idea of what is wrong, when, where and how it went wrong.
“Whatever solution is proffered will take cognisance of the need to return to the core ideals of re-orientation of values.”
Former Head of State, retired General Yakubu Gowon, says Nigerians at all levels of society must participate in the 2019 general elections process, just as he called on elders in the country not to be silent regarding the state of the country, with a focus on post-election stability in the country.
According to the elder statesman, it is the role of all citizens to affirm our highest values with honourable and peaceful conduct while rejecting the worst vices being promoted by a tiny group of corrupt Nigerians who seek power at various levels. The former head of state said this at a briefing in Abuja, tagged, ‘The Burden of the Elders at the Dawn of 2019 General Elections’.
He said Nigeria’s journey to true nationhood since independence in 1960 has been slow, but incremental. He gave reasons for the state of affairs.
“The central reason for our unsteady journey is fairly obvious as no nation can take a giant leap on the scale of human progress without true stewardship represented by a leadership that is visionary, honest, open, and patriotic.”
While admitting that the decline in moral standards in the country may have started long before now, he pointed out that “this overwhelming plunge into extreme greed and corruption of recent years has been a heartbreaking experience to us,” a trend he said posed a clear and present danger to the wellbeing of today’s children and generations yet unborn.
Gen. Gowon condemned a situation in which, according to him, elders sit by and watch the degeneration in societal values, stressing that “the violent turn of expressions, deepened economic hardships and increasing desperation of the national polity has to be reversed to keep hope alive.”
He added, “As we soak in all the attendant factors including the toxic political culture of the present hour and the predatory tonality of the ongoing election processes magnified by the fact that the country is still reeling from the shock of the postponed elections, it has become imperative that we must speak up as elders.”
While urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and politicians to live up to their responsibilities in the forthcoming elections, he threw a challenge to the elders in the country.
“As we soak in all the attendant factors including the toxic political culture of the present hour and the predatory tonality of the ongoing election processes magnified by the fact that the country is still reeling from the shock of the postponed elections, it has become imperative that we must speak up as elders.”
The former head of state did not stop there but also addressed another issue that constitutes a great to the nation’s development and proffered a solution.
“We recommend that a comprehensive strategy for addressing the cankerworm of corruption should be formulated by taking deliberate and painstaking steps for eliminating the root causes of corruption while developing a more sophisticated and even-handed for the investigation and prosecution of corrupt practices.”
Regarding Saturday’s elections, Gen. Gowon said, “God willing, we are determined to honour the call we started out with as our duty to our fatherland so that the banner we would hand over to future generations should be stainless rather than coloured crimson with the blood of the innocent.”
He appealed to Nigerians to calm down and work towards a sustainable future for the nation.
A former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has called for more awareness campaign against hepatitis.
General Gowon who is a goodwill ambassador for the fight against the disease said this on Sunday during a meeting with government officials in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
He made the demand when he led a delegation of the Federal Ministry of Health, Adamawa State Ministry of Health, and the Yakubu Gowon Centre to flag off the screening and immunisation exercise against hepatitis in the state.
The former military leader was received by the state governor, Mohammed Jibrilla, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Martins Babale, and some members of the State Executive Council at the Government House Conference Centre.
Statistics from the State Ministry of Health has shown that out of the 1500 persons recently screened for the disease, 160 of them were found to be infected – an indication that the prevalence rate in the state is very high.
The data also revealed that 20 million Nigerians are already infected with Hepatitis B, which is about 11% to 15% of the country’s population.
This prompted stakeholders to call for an urgent action to curb the disease, particularly hepatitis B and C as the effect on the country would be enormous if not well tackled.
Joining his voice, General Gowon said: “there is a need, therefore, for government to be able to help to ensure that this disease is fought successfully, especially from childhood.”
He further urged the state government to set up a team in collaboration with the Yakubu Gowon Centre and the local governments, so as to tackle the disease efficiently.
Gowo, who had earlier visited Taraba State for the same purpose, also appealed to all Nigerians of goodwill to help in curing or preventing the disease.
In his response, Mr Babale assured the former military leader that the state government would do everything possible to support the programme.
In their various remarks, the Commissioner of Health in the state, Dr Fatimar Abubakar, and State Coordinator, Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI), Hamman Diram, stressed the need to screen pregnant women of the disease.
After the meeting at the Government House, the team proceeded to the Yola Specialists Hospital to monitor the screening and immunisation exercise conducted for some patients at the facility.