More knocks came the way of former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, over his position on the call by some Nigerians to have the nation restructured. Apex-Igbo cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and pro-Biafran group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), yesterday chided the former head of state for not backing outright restructuring of the country given the challenges being faced by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
While Ohanaeze described as unfortunate the statement credited to Gowon that he would not support the restructuring of Nigeria, IPOB declared that it would continue to pursue those who committed genocide against the people of Biafra from the period of 1966 till date, and they would not go free from the face of men of integrity in the world.
It would be recalled that Gowon had recently stated that he would only throw his weight behind current calls for the restructuring of the Nigeria if the process would not keep the country united. He told those agitating for the restructuring of Nigeria that the move would never get his support if there is any inkling that the nation may split after or during the process.
He made his view known during a chat with journalists shortly after one- day national prayer rally entitled: ‘Divine Visitation,’ held at the Victory International Church (Rehoboth Cathedral), Oluyole Extension, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Gowon, who was he military head of state between July, 1966 and August, 1975, a period that included the 30 months civil war in Nigeria, said: “Whoever is calling for the so-called restructuring, should not try to disturb the unity of Nigeria; if that is the aim, my answer to that is no.
“During my time, there was a problem of the fear of domination of one part of the country over the other. After consultation throughout the country, we told people the benefits of what we are doing to keep the nation together.
“They all accepted, and we were able to create more states so that no state was too big to dominate the other; no state was too small to be ignored as part of the country. It allowed them to play their part to build the country of our dream.” But speaking through its Secretary General, Dr Joe Nworgu, Ohanaeze Ndigbo stated that it was committed to the restructuring of Nigeria and had been on it since after the war.
He said: “Considering his status in the country, we think it is unfortunate for Gowon to hold such a view on an issue that could be the only way forward for Nigeria out of its present predicament.
“Ironically, the state creation exercise Gowon embarked upon in 1967 was restructuring, unless he has a wrong and narrow notion of what restructuring is all about. Restructuring is not about secession. It is more of rearrangement in line with current realities.
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