A former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon (retd.), who led the Nigerian side during the Nigerian Civil War (1969-1970), has said he does not have any problem if power shifts to the Igbo come 2023.
He premised his views on the condition that as long as doing so would enhance peace.
Gowon spoke in a special interview he granted to the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Service in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of the war on Wednesday.
Our correspondent listened to excerpts of the interview in Abuja, on Friday.
While responding to a question on the agitation by south easterners that the Igbo should produce the nation’s President in 2023, he said, “If doing so will bring peace, it should be done; if the people so desire.”
He added, “There was a time the PDP started rotational presidency, if that was continued maybe the Igbo would have produced a President but that didn’t happen. If that can be done now, I don’t have a problem with it. Anybody can govern. There are many people in Nigeria, if God gives them and they will govern with the fear of God and love for Nigerians, we will make the desired progress.”
Earlier, while responding to a question on whether he had regrets leading Nigeria into the civil war, he said he did not regret his action given the circumstance at the time, stressing that it was necessary to keep Nigeria one.
Gowon said, “I want to thank God that we ended the civil war on a peaceful note; like I said back then, there was no victor, no vanquished. I thank God for the peace we’ve enjoyed over the last fifty years since the war ended.
“The war wasn’t what someone wanted. It was fought by those who wanted Nigeria to remain one unlike those on the other side who wanted it to divide, that was what led to the war.
“Because of that, I will not say I committed a crime by going to war, it was out of our love for the unity of Nigeria, especially after the killing of Nigerian leaders of northern extraction, of our prominent officers from Lieutenant Colonel to General. I was the only one left. Those who want to foment fresh trouble should not do so.”