Buhari Greets Gowon at 87

Yakubu Gowon

Yakubu Gowon

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, sent warm felicitations to former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon on his 87th birthday. He rejoiced with the leader and his family on the grace for good health and strength to keep serving.

Buhari congratulated Gowon 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.

As the former Head of State turned 87 on 19 October, the President noted, 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. These are the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the creation of states and the Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation project, which has turned into a reference for harmony.

The President said 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.

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President Buhari joined family, friends and Nigerians in praying for a longer life for the visionary leader.

Gowon (Jack Gowon, for style) was born on 19 October 1934. The retired Army General was Head of State between 1 August 1966 and 29 July 1975. He presided over a civil war that spanned three years from 1967 to 1970.

Gowon is of the Angas ethnic group  (Lur, a small village in the present Kanke Government Area of Plateau State). His parents, Nde Yohanna and Matwok Kurnyang worked in Wusasa, Zaria, Kaduna State, as Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionaries.

Gowon joined the Nigerian Army in 1954, and received his commission as a second lieutenant on 19 October 1955, his 21st birthday. He was trained in the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Staff College, Camberly, 1962, and the Joint Staff College, Latimer, 1965.