Gowon Advises Tinubu Amid Criticisms, Reflects on Biafra War

by David Okoye

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Former military ruler Yakubu Gowon has offered words of encouragement to President Bola Tinubu, urging him not to be deterred by criticisms from Nigerians. Drawing from his own experience, Gowon recalled facing criticism for being “too slow” in leading Nigeria during the civil war against Biafra secessionists but ultimately achieving success in quelling the secessionist movement.

Speaking to journalists during a visit to the Presidential Villa, Gowon emphasized the inevitability of criticism for leaders and advised Tinubu to remain steadfast in his efforts. Reflecting on his own leadership during the Nigerian Civil War, Gowon noted that he was initially criticized for his approach but ultimately succeeded in preserving Nigeria’s unity.

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Gowon’s visit to Tinubu aimed to discuss various matters, particularly focusing on the current challenges within ECOWAS, given Gowon’s status as one of the founding fathers of the organization.

Addressing concerns about President Tinubu’s performance, Gowon urged Nigerians to be patient and allow time for tangible results to manifest, emphasizing that it is premature to expect perfection.

Gowon’s remarks come amidst ongoing tensions in Nigeria, particularly in the South-East, where agitation for secession persists despite the end of the Nigeria-Biafra war over 50 years ago. The war, which claimed millions of lives and resulted in widespread atrocities, remains a contentious and sensitive issue in Nigerian history.

While acknowledging the tragic toll of the war, including the loss of millions of lives and atrocities committed by Nigerian soldiers, Gowon downplayed its significance by referring to it as “a little fracas.”

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