A former Head of State , Gen Yakubu Gowon , who led the Nigerian side during the Nigerian Civil War ( 1969 – 1970 ) , has said he does not have any problem if power shifts to the Igbo come 2023.
He premised his views on the condition that as long as doing so would enhance peace.
Gowon spoke in a special interview he granted to the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Service in commemoration of the 50 th anniversary of the end of the war on Wednesday .
Our correspondent listened to excerpts of the interview in Abuja, on Friday.
While responding to a question on the agitation by south easterners that the Igbo should produce the nation’ s President in 2023 , he said , “ If doing so will bring peace, it should be done ; if the people so desire . ”
He added , “ There was a time the PDP started rotational presidency , if that was continued maybe the Igbo would have produced a President but that didn ’ t happen. If that can be done now , I don ’ t have a problem with it. Anybody can govern . There are many people in Nigeria , if God gives them and they will govern with the fear of God and love for Nigerians , we will make the desired progress . ”
Earlier , while responding to a question on whether he had regrets leading Nigeria into the civil war , he said he did not regret his action given the circumstance at the time, stressing that it was necessary to keep Nigeria one.
Gowon said , “I want to thank God that we ended the civil war on a peaceful note ; like I said back then , there was no victor, no vanquished. I thank God for the peace we ’ ve enjoyed over the last fifty years since the war ended .
“ The war wasn ’ t what someone wanted . It was fought by those who wanted Nigeria to remain one unlike those on the other side who wanted it to divide , that was what led to the war.
“ Because of that , I will not say I committed a crime by going to war , it was out of our love for the unity of Nigeria , especially after the killing of Nigerian leaders of northern extraction, of our prominent officers from Lieutenant Colonel to General . I was the only one left . Those who want to foment fresh trouble should not do so . ”
(Photo Credit: punchng.com)
Ex-CAN President Onaiyekan, Cleric Bag Honorary Degrees
A former national president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Cardinal John Onaiyekan and the Archbishop of Abuja catholic diocese, Ignatius Kaigama, will be honored with honorary doctorate degrees by an Abuja-based Catholic institution, Veritas University, on Saturday, December 3, 2022.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Rev. Fr. Professor Hyacinth Ichoku, made this known in a briefing with selected journalists in Abuja.
Speaking on Thursday ahead of the convocation ceremony of the university, the don also noted that four countries had indicated interest to send their students to Nigeria to study pontifical degrees in the theology of philosophy.
The development follows approval by the Congregation for Catholic Education in the Vertical City Rome, Italy, to Veritas University Abuja to establish Pontifical Faculty.
The countries are Burkina Faso, Mali, Ivory Coast and India.
Professor Ichoku said only two countries including Nigeria and Nairobi run the pontifical degree which necessitated the influx of foreign students to Nigeria.
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“For the first time, the university will be honoring prominent Nigerians such as the former CAN president, cardinal John Onaiyekan and the archbishop of Abuja diocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama.
‘’Veritas University has been granted the faculty to run Pontification degrees in theology and philosophy by the Congregation of Catholic Education in the Vertical City, Rome. That is in addition to National Universities Commission-approved programmes in theology and philosophy. As a Catholic University to be granted the power of the faculty to run these programmes is the height of our development and in Africa; there are just two granted such faculty, which are, the Catholic University of East Africa, Nairobi and Veritas University in Abuja. It is an exceptional privilege for us,’’ Professor Ichoku stated.
Professor Ichoku said the university would be awarding first-class degrees to 28 students who had distinguished themselves in character and learning.
He noted that the minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola would be delivering the convocation lecture.
NACCIMA, Nigeria’s Road To Prosperity – SDP Presidential Candidate, Adebayo
The presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Prince Adewole Adebayo, has said that the road to prosperity in Nigeria is through The Nigeria Association of Chambers and Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
Adebayo who spoke at the 4th quarterly meeting of NACCIMA in Enugu assured that the SDP, if elected into power, would not be a lawbreaker government but a law abiding.
He added that one of the difficulties facing the industry is that government does not respect contracts.
He posited that times have changed because in the past before government presents the country’s budget, captains of industries are always consulted, and the government doesn’t take decisions without considering the effects.
Adebayo driving his point and acknowledging the importance of NACCIMA said ‘In the past when you see presidential candidate, governorship candidate, senatorial candidate, you in NACCIMA will say he’s my boy, he use to work for me, he’s a good boy.
He added that Nigeria must return to such lifestyle, because the road to prosperity in Nigeria is through NACCIMA.
True Federalism: Expert Wants NULGE Join CSOs, Others For Constitutional Amendment
Professor Festus Imuetinyan, federal Commissioner, Federal Character Commission, Abuja has called on the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) to join hands with other unions and civil society organizations working for the amendment of the nation’s constitution to make the constitution truly federal.
Imuetinyan made the call on Wednesday in Benin City at the Edo State chapter of NULGE 2022 week celebration with the theme,”Sustaining an autonomous local government as a catalyst for national development: The role of NULGE”.
The university don opined that local governments will only become catalyst for national development when they are put in firm control over local affairs as well as encourage the emergency of local solutions to local problems.
He advocated that the local government matters must be removed from the national constitution and placed within the purview of the states to save them from the challenge of forced uniformity in the face of endemic diversity of local problems.
He added that NULGE, as the major trade union in the local government system in Nigeria, has a duty to ensure that the present unified local government system which is unwieldy is jettisoned.
“Unfortunately, many local government staff are beneficiaries of the present system and do not see any urgent need for changes.
“Your members are the ones that are made sole administrators when elected council heads are illegally sacked by state governments. Many enjoy posting to areas that they are not conversant with the custom and tradition of the people whose problems they are called upon to solve.
“Others are promoted in the face of inadequate utilization of available resources to manage waste and protect public utilities within their jurisdictions.
“It is often alleged that many of your members extort money from members of the public and that they enrich themselves at the expense of the development of the communities”, he said.
He further opined that the present local government system is not patterned to achieve any developmental goal rather than a smooth vehicle for the transfer of centrally collected funds to the pockets of States’ political elites.
Imuetinyan emphasized that the 1999 Constitution makes it possible for state governments to cripple Local Government Councils financially by routing the amount of money standing to the credit of Local governments in the Federation Account (FA) through a joint State Local Government Account rather than directly to local councils.
He asserted that the arrangement adversely affects the fiscal autonomy and viability of most local governments.
According to him, some state governors make inexplicable deductions or unduly delay the release of funds from the joint accounts to local government chief executives.
“Local government chairmen are bullied by state governors to surrender much of their statutory allocations under duress. When they fail; they find other ways to replace them with caretaker committees of selected loyalists.
“Expenditure and project discretion had become a thing of the past. Most states expect their Local governments to seek and obtain permission to embark on projects. Local government projects are inspected periodically by officials of state governments.
“More financial load has been placed on Local governments’ share of the Federation Account. For example, funds for primary school teachers’ salaries and pension charges are now charged centrally to the Local governments.
“The central deductions at source of these charges and several other unfunded mandates in environmental and social spending by the State Governments tend to leave many Local Governments with little funds.
“And unfortunately, many Local governments especially those in the rural areas have limited access to productive tax bases”, he added.
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