In recent news reports, the question of General Yakubu Gowon’s status has come to the forefront, with speculations swirling about his well-being. Former Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, is very much alive and has personally refuted rumors of his death. In this article, we delve into the life and career of this prominent figure in Nigeria’s history, putting rest to any confusion about his current state.
Who is Yakubu Gowon?
General Yakubu Gowon, often referred to as “Jack” Gowon, is a retired Nigerian army general and a key figure in Nigeria’s history. He served as the head of state of Nigeria during a tumultuous period, notably during the Nigerian Civil War. His tenure saw both praise and controversy, making him a significant historical figure.
|Full Name||Yakubu Gowon|
|Date of Birth||October 19, 1934|
|Place of Birth||Pankshin, Plateau State, Nigeria|
|Spouse||Victoria Zakari Gowon|
|Position||Head of State of Nigeria (1966-1975)|
|Awards||Honorary Doctorate Degrees from various universities
International Peace Mediator Award
Leadership Award by ECOWAS
Early Life and Background
Yakubu Gowon was born into a minority Ngas family in Northern Nigeria in the village of Lur, located in present-day Plateau State, Nigeria. His parents, Nde Yohanna and Matwok Kurnyang, were missionaries for the Church Missionary Society (CMS). The young Gowon spent his formative years in Zaria, where he received his early education.
Gowon displayed exceptional athletic talent during his school days. He excelled in various sports, including football, pole vaulting, long-distance running, and even served as the captain of the school’s boxing team. His leadership and versatility were evident from a young age.
Gowon’s military journey began in 1954 when he joined the Nigerian Army. His rapid rise through the ranks was marked by significant milestones, including his commission as a second lieutenant on his 21st birthday. He received military education in prestigious institutions, both in the UK and Nigeria, honing his skills and competence.
He also participated in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in the Congo, further establishing his reputation as a capable military leader. By 1966, he had risen to the position of battalion commander, even though he held the rank of lieutenant colonel at the time.
Leadership During the Nigerian Civil War
General Yakubu Gowon’s most notable period of leadership was during the Nigerian Civil War, which lasted from 1967 to 1970. He famously delivered the “no victor, no vanquished” speech at the end of the war, emphasizing the need for healing and reconciliation in a nation torn apart by conflict. His leadership during this time, however, was not without controversy, as accusations of crimes against humanity and genocide were leveled against him.
Is General Yakubu Gowon Dead or Alive?
Putting an end to the recent speculations about his death, General Yakubu Gowon is indeed alive and well. These rumors emerged on social media, suggesting that he had passed away at the age of 89. However, General Gowon himself confirmed his status, stating that he is alive and in good health during a telephone conversation with Vanguard newspaper.
Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, a close associate of General Gowon, also dismissed the rumors, affirming that the war hero is alive and currently in London. Gbagi stressed that he had recently spoken with General Gowon, and there was no basis for believing the false reports about his death.
It’s worth noting that the confusion may have arisen due to the passing of another individual with a similar name, Professor Samuel Gowon Edoumiekumo, but General Yakubu Gowon is unquestionably alive.
General Yakubu Gowon denies rumoured death, says I am still around and well. I am not in a hurry" – Adeyeye E. Ajayi mni, Personal Aide to General Yakubu Gowon pic.twitter.com/TbROB3GXcV
— NTA News (@NTANewsNow) October 9, 2023
Yakubu Gowon’s Legacy and Contributions
Yakubu Gowon, throughout his life, has been a staunch believer in the unity and oneness of Nigeria. His commitment to preserving the country’s unity has been a central theme in his life and career. Notably, he is the founder of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Trust Fund bill, aimed at supporting Corps members in various ways, including helping them start businesses and improving facilities at Orientation Camps.
In conclusion, General Yakubu Gowon is very much alive and actively involved in contributing to the betterment of Nigeria. His life has been marked by remarkable achievements and significant moments, both as a military leader and as a statesman. While controversies surround his leadership during the Nigerian Civil War, there is no doubt that he remains a pivotal figure in Nigeria’s history.
1. Who is General Yakubu Gowon?
General Yakubu Gowon is a retired Nigerian army general and former Head of State of Nigeria. He is also the founder of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
2. What is the NYSC Trust Fund Bill?
The NYSC Trust Fund Bill is a proposed legislation aimed at establishing a trust fund to provide financial support to NYSC Corps members. The fund will help them start businesses, improve camp facilities, and enhance skill acquisition and entrepreneurship training.
3. Why is General Gowon optimistic about the NYSC Trust Fund Bill?
General Gowon is optimistic about the bill because he believes it will soon receive Presidential Assent, allowing the establishment of the trust fund and its benefits for Corps members.
4. How does General Gowon advise General Ahmed to lead the NYSC?
General Gowon advises General Ahmed to adopt an all-inclusive style of leadership and to strive to leave a positive legacy during his tenure as the Chief Executive of the NYSC.
5. What is the significance of the NYSC in Nigeria?
The NYSC plays a crucial role in fostering unity and national integration in Nigeria by mobilizing young graduates from different parts of the country to serve in various regions, promoting cultural exchange and understanding.