Nigeria would have been better if Yar’adua had completed his tenure – Gowon

Adebari Oguntoye
Adebari Oguntoye
Late Umaru Yar-Adua.

A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has said Nigeria would have been a better country if President Umaru Musa Yar’adua had completed his tenure.

Gowon spoke on Monday during a first President Umaru Musa Yar’adua international leadership conference and awards organised by the Global Initiative for Leadership Success in Abuja.

Recall that Yar’adua became president in 2007, but in 2010, he died as a result of ill health.

Gowon said Yar’adua had achieved significant milestones for Nigeria within his short time in office, including granting amnesty to the Niger Delta militants as a way of restoring the economy of the country.

He lamented that, though Yar’adua admitted that the process that produced him as president in 2007 was flawed and constituted the Justice Muhammed Uwais Committee for electoral reforms, successive administrations failed to continue with his initiative.

Gowon said, “He was a decent man—a man with absolute integrity. He was an honest man. He did very well and he has to be remembered. He was so honest that he said the process that brought him to power was not right. And he set up a committee. But it was not followed by successive leaders.

“However, I believe that one day we will have a solution. He was honest and sincere in dealing with any problem, and he was incorruptible. You can not blame him for corruption; he was clean. His various activities, including the amnesty programme that he brought to the Niger Delta, ensured our economy was protected.

“His illness and death—I believe if God had allowed him to complete his years in service, I believe Nigeria would have been better. A lot of things would have been better because he meant well for the country. So continue that love for the country and love for one another to make Nigeria great.”

Gowon also decried the spate of insecurity in the country and called on government and security agencies to fish out perpetrators of violent killings, abductions of schoolchildren in the North, and kidnappings for ransom in other parts of the country.

In his welcome address, the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Global Initiative For Leadership Success, Gen A.B Mamman, said, “The blatant refusal to adopt and implement in whole this Uwais Committee report is consequential on the ever-faulty governance leadership recruitment system in Nigeria till date, accounting yet for her to remain in doldrums.

“Most public office holders continue to appear at the the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), or the Independent Corruption Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) office to answer questions on their tenure and so many other reasons.”

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