By Ochiaka Ugwu
Former Nigerian Military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon has explained why he appointed Mr. Ukpabi Asika Military Administrator East Central State immediately after the war.
Gowon said he appointed Askia due to his love for Nigeria and his people making it possible for the East Central State to witness a lot of transformation after the war.
“I appointed Ukpabi Asika as the Administrator of East Central State due to his love for Nigeria and his people which made it possible for development to happen in the state after the war” he said.
Gowon also said that Nigerian Civil War fought between 1967 to 1970 was his most difficult decision as the then nation’s leader.
Gowon who made this known Friday in Abuja at the event of “The Experiential Leadership Series in Africa” with the theme: Post Crises Cohesion in Africa: Leadership and the practice of No Victor No Vanquished, hosted by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) and supported by Tel – Africa said that after Police action failed against the successionist Biafrans, he had to introduce full military action as he felt he cannot wage war against fellow countrymen.
According to him, “When Police Action failed during the crisis. Full military action was introduced. I never called it war. It was conducted in a way that we will continue to be brothers and sisters after the crisis. We did not strike any major formation.
“We introduced the 3Rs after the crisis, which means Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction and there was a fourth R, which is Reintegration. These made it possible for Ibos to quickly return to their former places of residence immediately after the war.
Gowon said that it would be wrong for Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which he co-founded with the Late Togolese President, Gnassingbe Eyadema to intervene militarily in the case of Niger as that would be capable of breaking the organization.
He stressed the need for military to imbibe respect for democracy and give support to civil leadership.
Also speaking, the Director General of Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Dr. Joseph Ochogwu said the event was a defining moment for peace mainstreaming noting that the Institute seeks for synergy with relevant organizations as it cannot do it alone.
Ochogwu who thanked Tel – Afirca for supporting the program stressing the importance of Post War Peace saying it can be generational and can be transferred to other generation for effective peace making.
Adeolu Ade Adewumi of Tel – Africa said the organization was dedicated to leveraging distinct experiential and intellectual outlook to build capacities and enrich insight as well as approaches to the nexus of leadership.
Gen. Gowon was honoured with investiture of Fellow of Peace Institute (FPL) by the leadership of the Institute.