by Isi Esene
Weeks after verbally slamming the renowned writer, Chinua Achebe, over his account of events during the Nigerian Civil War, former president and founder of the Nigeria Prays Initiative, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), has fired another shot at former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Gowon described as “highly irresponsible” Obasanjo’s criticism of President Jonathan’s handling of the present security situation in the country.
Gowon said this in Lagos at the launch of a book titled, “Stay at the top”, authored by a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), Omoniyi Komolafe.
Gowon reportedly said:
“Obasanjo is highly irresponsible to have made such comments about the present government. Many people have condemned what he (Obasanjo) did in Odi and Zaki Biam. So, it was irresponsible for him to defend it or accuse the present administration.”
Gowon urged Nigerians to support the Jonathan administration in his efforts at bringing sanity to the security situation in the country.
“I know people are concerned about the security situation in the country, but I can assure you that the government is doing everything possible to tackle the situation.
“I remember during my time as Head of State, when we also had grave challenges. Some people said it was impossible to unite Nigeria and that we could not achieve it. Some also said we could not move the state capital from Lagos to another city.
“But, eventually, we were able to subdue the security challenges. I can tell you, we would not have been able to do it, if we did not enjoy the support of Nigerians.
“I urge our people to love and defend the unity of this country at all times. The government should be given the needed support so that it will be able to function.
“I am not saying government should not be criticised when it is doing wrong, but we should not say or do things that will cause more tension and confusion in our land.”
Other eminent Nigerians at the book launch included the Head of the Interim National Government, Ernest Shonekan, the former Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof. Samuel Olowe, the Vice Chancellor of Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), Prof. Sola Fajana and representatives of Lagos, Osun and Ogun governors.
Former President Obasanjo had last week in Warri, during the 40th Anniversary and birthday celebration of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor described president Jonathan’s response to Boko Haram’s insurgency as tepid.
“My fear is that when you have a sore and you don’t attend to it early enough, it festers and becomes very bad. Don’t leave a problem that can be bad unattended,” Obasanjo said.