A former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, retd, has said that he accidentally became Nigeria’s Head of State at age 31, adding that he never planned to be the nation’s leader.
Gowon became the youngest ever Head of State on August 1, 1966, and remains the longest-serving Nigerian head of state after spending 9 years in office between 1966–1975.
Speaking at Nigeria’s first virtual reality history competition organized by ANISZA Foundation and Gallery on Friday, Gowon said he was frightened when he emerged the nation’s military leader at a relatively young age.
“I felt petrified when I took over as Head of State. I never planned to be the President, it just happened,” Gowon said, noting that his ambition then was just to be a good soldier.
The former Head of State shared some of his life experiences with the youths and counseled them on the right attitudes and values they can play in national development.
He reiterated his faith in the Nigerian youth and the country’s potential for greatness, adding that “we can live in peace and unity irrespective of our religions and tribes.”
He called on the youths, traditional and religious institutions to take up the responsibility of securing national identity, saying everyone has major roles to play in harnessing national values that will spur growth and development across all sectors of the Nigerian life.
This is coming two months after General Yakubu Gowon expressed fears that Nigeria may crumble totally if citizens don’t pray for President Muhammadu Buhari.