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‘How Yakubu Gowon plunged Nigeria into wilderness, imposed internal colonialism’


Yakubu Gowon

Yakubu Gowon

A developmental economist and public intellectual, Dr. Jimanze Ego-Alowes, has faulted Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s Nigeria Prays pet project’s claim that prayer is what the country needs to get out of its political and economic wilderness.

Rather, he tasked Nigerians to hold the former military Head of State accountable for the current malaise plaguing the country, when he, Gowon, and succeeding military dictators of northern extraction, imposed an undevelopable empire-state structure on the country, with them as internal colonialists with veto powers to annul the wishes of the rest of the country.

He said the creation of multiple states and local councils was the instrument the military dictators deployed to foster imbalance in the country to the disadvantage of the other ethnic nations.

He, therefore, charged Gowon to confer with former dictators to return Nigeria to its pre-1967 national boundaries, when the country was a nation-state, to ensure peace and genuine development.

Ego-Alowes, whose new book, How and Why the Yoruba Fought and Lost the Biafra-Nigeria Civil War, is due for launch on Thursday in Lagos, said Gowon was correct in saying that Nigeria was in the wilderness, but noted that he failed to tell Nigerians that he was the one that plunged the country into the morass as a former dictator.

According to him: “General Yakubu Gowon is absolutely correct. Nigeria is in the wilderness. The only point that Gowon forgot to remind us is that it was he, Gowon, who drove and plunged the nation into this wilderness. As a budding dictator, Gowon turned the nation away from the path of civilisation (when he rejected Aburi agreements negotiated with Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu in Ghana in 1967) of a commonly negotiated state and decided that war and the rule of the jungle was the way to build nations.

“However fanciful any party may get, it is a matter of historical record that Gowon and cohorts abjured on the rules of negotiated harmony and imposed those of the reign of terror and war. Perhaps, Gown was driven by a false sense of personal destiny and regional hegemony, or perhaps he naively thought actions have no consequences.”

Ego-Alowes argued that Nigeria is currently “living through the manifestations of the historical malevolence of Gowon and advisers in preferring war to negotiation. And we all must acknowledge that no amount of prayer can turn jungle rule into a civilised living. We need to tell ourselves these self-evident truths.”

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  • Basil Ogbanufe


  • Osanebi Osakuni

    That man Gowan hasn’t listed the prayer points that we will take to God. He came to Midwest (Edo/Delta) and appealed to use our resources to keep Nigeria one. When the war ended, he forgot us and pretended the oil wealth was his, he balkanized the regional structures that destroyed Nigeria till date. Put political restructuring, Zonal (regional) autonomy as prayer point and I bet you, your Church will be the biggest in Nigeria.

    • Oladele

      I am sure you are a youth, otherwise you would have known that it was Maj.Gen. JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi as head of state that decreed Nigeria into a Unitary government and not Gen. Gowon. Nigeria began a major decent into the abyss from Alhaji Aliyu Othman Shehu Shagari assisted by Gen. Olusegun Okikiola Mathew Obasanjo who rigged him into office. All of those were ruining Nigeria at gear 2 until Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida came and shifted to 3 and then 4. The rest maintained it at 4 until Dr Goodluck Ebelemi Azikiwe Jonathan came and decided to remove cover (and I liked him for that; why are we pretending when we are all corrupt to the bones) and shifted to 5 and 6 in no time. Before he left, corruption in Nigeria went driver-less and became free for all. If you cannot thief, na you sabi! I hope we can bring back sanity into the country.

      • Ibu Anyi Danda

        The zoo (nigga-area ) must continue to go in to abyss, and perpetually remain there. The great Biafran must do every thing humanly possible to extricate it self from this 1967 British sponsored union of incompetency between the primitive. murderous Fulani and the treacherous and slimy Yoruba. All Hail Biafra.

        • Oladele

          pipe dream! Go and get a job, no space for Biafra forever!

          • Richard Wilson


          • Oladele

            You must be proud of lazy men: Aguiyi Ironsi’s ADC is Igbo, he ran away, all senior military officers he radioed for reinforcement also ran away, the only brother that stuck with him to the end was the lazy man Fajuyi. Tell your father to explain that to you!

          • MUkintu

            Where was Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe who was supposed to take over after the murder of Ironsi?

          • Oladele

            Ogundipe was senior to Ironsi and because Azikiwe gave double promotion to Ironsi, Ogundipe was moved to defense headquarters to some administrative work, so at the time under reference, he controlled no troops so he could do nothing. He was only instrumental in talking Murtala Muhammed into dropping his secessionist movement and after Gowon he was deployed to Britain since he could not serve under his juniors for a second time. It is always disingenuous for folks to assume a military man without troops can assume command and control when all vital formations are headed by coupists. It just makes no sense. Did he run away? NO! he was around all the time until calm was restored. It is a redundant argument when we bicker over things, like Fulani herdsmen. Before, they were messing around in the SW, Igbos had a very good laugh, now they are doing worse in the SE, what do we say? Let us face our problems together and see to it that a problem facing a Nigerian is facing all Nigerians!

      • Okpomo

        The unification decrees which suspended the federal arrangement, yes, Aguyi Ironsi, but the balkanization, which the Aburi Agreement would have prevented, hold Gowon responsible, and that’s what the writer has rightly pointed out. Had the Aburi Accord been respected, the federal arrangement, in fact a con-federal arrangement which would have given the federating units greater autonomy, would have been achieved.

        • Oladele

          We all need patience as Africans. The Aburi accord was dead on arrival. The representatives of the Southern Nigeria were waiting on the wings opting out of what used to be Eastern Nigeria, Gowon reached out to Ojukwu for renegotiation but the later insisted in his much touted declaration; “On Aburi we stand” Few months later, the actual reason was known. It was not civil war as you all know it, it was “Oil War” Biafra was backed by France through Gabon (with the aid of their secret service and shipping ammunition to them while Nigeria was backed by Britain and USA was idly standing by. Africans are often pawns in the hands of these capitalists and I hope we can some day free ourselves. It was the oil that made Gowon carve out both “Rivers” and “Mid-West” as master stroke but Ojukwu would have non of that. I hope we can now go six geo-political zones.

          • Okpomo

            I hope too, that we can free ourselves someday. But the issue under review was who did what, and wouldn’t want to delve into why, as there are a lot of theories that are beyond this little debate. I am a south-southerner who think that disregarding Aburi and going ahead creating states as a remedy to his inability to halt the ”revenge” killings that were going on in the North by ”his boys” was an error on Gowon’s part. We are where we are because of his decisions, and that’s the focus of this topic. The entity as it is cannot be developed and that’s the stark reality which we must address.

      • Osanebi Osakuni

        Ironsi didn’t remove 50% revenue derivation but you are quick to question someone else’ age. Bendel (present Edo/Delta) was the first to sue FGN on this subject through Prof A Alli for Nigeria to reverse fiscal derivation to the 1966 status that was implemented by Gowan. Indeed, we were approached by Gowan (who is praying today) to let our wealth be used in addition to those from the present (Rivers/ Bayelsa). We won the case but the Shagari government crafted the constitution with ‘not less than 1%’ that continued till Great Ogboru’s coup. We then earned 3%. The fallout of Abacha’s 1million man match and Ken Saro Wiwa death raised it to the present 13%. We have fed you and your parasitic state. The world must be laughing at your types in Nigeria for insulting the people of Niger Delta that have used their resources to sustain you all. Sickening!

        • Oladele

          You are a creep! I was fed from cocoa money, not that my parents were planting but that I planted with them and sold personally. Most times going to the market 6am on Monday morning to sell so we can have funds for the rest of the week and take the rest to the merchants on Saturdays (but they dont pay us quick hence the need to keep a small part to take to open market Monday morning before heading to school). Militant; when will you get sense? Gowon was removed in 1975, Bendel state started in 1976. Mid-West was what you had but before then Awolowo constructed your road from cocoa money but we never abused you as it was commonwealth. You are a kid not because of your age alone but your reasoning and IQ!

          • Osanebi Osakuni

            You manifested such level of idiocy after planting cocoa, then get developed till this today with resources from my backyard. At your age you don’t know the difference between nomenclature associated identity and geographic associated one. Gowan is alive and has been confronted with his plea of 1967 to Midwest to help fund war. Today, your governor does little without revenue allocation from Abuja that is mainly derived from Niger Delta. The whole world is tired of traitors like you. Please limit it to Awo and Abiola.

  • infinity2020

    Our barbaric leaders who refused to move with the time still thinks that we can pray ourselves out of the situation they created