Why Ojukwu thought I would never go to war – General Gowon

by James Sambo

A former military head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, says the leader of the defunct Biafra, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, never expected him to go to war because of his status as a ‘Born Again Christian’.

According to Gowon, who led Nigerian forces during the Nigerian civil war from 1967-1970, the Biafran warlord felt that the fact he was a staunch Christian would deter him from fighting him in battle.

The former head of state said this on Thursday, May 14, at the Diamond Jubilee Lecture of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria in Lagos.

He said: “During the crisis, my colleague and brother, Emeka Ojukwu, said, ‘We know Gen. Gowon, he is a Christian and he would not like to fight. Do you know the first thing he puts in his suitcase? His Bible; and that will make him not to engage in a fight’. I think unfortunately, he was proved wrong. As a Christian soldier, it was my duty to keep my country together.”

“During the civil war from 1967-1970, it was the prayers of the people of God and the military that helped to keep the country together. It was God that helped to stem the tide of coups so that we could enjoy democracy today.

“Even when many predicted the break-up of Nigeria by 2015, the effective prayers of the people intervened and the elections were peaceful. As an observer, I was impressed by the turnout and camaraderie of all Nigerians.

“I said if the elections could be this peaceful, the end would be glorious. And didn’t it become glorious? It did by the act of good leadership in both parties and the acceptance of the outcome of the election even though it went against one of them.”

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