By Evelyn Okakwu
Catholic Arch. Bishop of Abuja, Bishop John Onayekan has called on Nigerian youths and leaders to emulate the honest attributes of former head of state, Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd).
Bishop Onayekan was speaking at a Thanksgiving service organised in honour of the former head of state, in commemoration of his 80th birthday, yesterday at the Christian Ecumenical Center, Abuja.
He said the style of leadership adopted by past leaders like the former head of state have now become a thing of the past.
“During his time of leadership, Gen Gowon did not know how to steal public funds, but today, the story has changed, many waters have passed under the ocean.
Earlier at the event, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan described, Gen. Gowon as a true elder statesman worthy to be honoured. The president said General Gowon was a true patriot of the nation, whose emphasis at the time of the civil war, was not that of defeat, but how to keep Nigeria together.
President Jonathan commended his wife Victoria Gowon whom he described as a woman of peace, whose peaceful ways, helped her husband to come this far.
Also at the event, the president of the Christian association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, described Gen. Gowon as a symbol of hope and Unity for Nigeria. “You are indeed a symbol of hope for all Nigerians. A true Nigerian whose way of life gives hope to Nigerians from east, north,west and south”.
Also, at the event was the former vice-president of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, who reiterated the effort of Gen. Gowon towards uniting Nigeria, said, “At about the same time we had the Nigerian Federation, we also had the Central African Federation, (CAF); that CAF is now
Zimbabwe, Gambia and Malawi, three different countries, while Nigeria is still one, and this could only be achieved through the effort of people like Gen. Gowon.
He called on Nigerian youths to uphold the plan of the great leader, towards uniting Nigeria, through the National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC).