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I became Head of State by accident - Gowon

04 August 2016, 17:27

Abuja - Nigeria's former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has attributed his ascension 50 years ago to the accident of history.

He said he did not nurse the ambition to be the leader of the country.

Gowon stated this when Deputy Chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani, paid him a courtesy call in Abuja on Wednesday.

Gowon was reacting to calls by some Nigerians for the reduction of age limit to 30 years to contest for presidential position in the country.

"What happened was the accident of history.

"When you have lost your leadership and there was crisis and you don’t know what to do and it happened that those within your constituency chose you, what would you do?

"I was lucky enough within the military at that time and all the officers knew me by reputation.

"I had no intention to become head of state but it is the opportunity, if opportunity presents itself and people ask you to do it then do it.

"What I have achieved is (because of) God. I had never thought of becoming head of state but there was a coup and all my senior colleagues were killed and I was the only one that survived.

"My plan was to rise in my profession and hopefully become a head in my profession but that did not happen.

"I didn’t know what happened but I had the duty and responsibility to ensure the coup in Lagos did not succeed," he said.

The former head of state advised younger Nigerians to prepare themselves academically and morally to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.

Gowon became the leader of Nigeria, following the military coup of July 1966. The earlier coup had brought democracy to an end in the country, with the killing of regional political leaders in the northern and western regions, the prime minister and senior military officers of northern extraction.

As a military leader, he reigned for nine years, during which Nigeria also fought a civil war (1967-70).



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