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Gowon discusses ECOWAS with Tinubu

Former head of state and surviving leader, founding father of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), was in a meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.


The former head of state revealed that he was in the Presidential Villa to discuss the crisis in ECOWAS with the president and how to resolve it.

He denied that has refused to attend the ECOWAS meeting over the crisis, noting that he used the meeting to clear up issues on the matter with the President.

Speaking on his mission to the seat of power, General Gowon stated: “This is my first visit to Mr President since the inauguration, but I was there at the inauguration to wish him well and all success.

“If you remember how busy he was after that, visitors, members of government, various personalities, so it was not possible for me to be able to see him. After the time, I had to travel abroad but from abroad he was able to reach me on my birthday and after that interesting social media report that I was dead.

“But when I came back, I made a number of efforts but unfortunately, I think because of his busy programme it was not possible for me to see him.

“But luckily enough, this time he was able to give me the opportunity to see him and to discuss various matters, especially the issue of the ECOWAS problem at the moment which I think needs to be resolved.

“And being the surviving leader, or founding fathers of the ECOWAS, I think we had to discuss some of his plans in order to see what can be done to bring the matter under control.

“So, this is what has brought me here and we had a very interesting meeting and I’m sure some of you have read reports that I refused to attend ECOWAS conference, isn’t it? Is it you that did that report? Who did that? You know, trying to give that impression that it was me who was probably trying to sort of sabotage ECOWAS. No, that is not the case.

“I think there was a miscommunication but then it gave the opportunity for Mr President to call me so that we can discuss what I was to do.

“So, that ECOWAS meeting was part of the discussion we had today.

“So, that has been done and solved and I hope that we can probably be able to have that message done later on today at ECOWAS headquarters probably by 5pm. They will let you know.”

On the current situation in the country, the former leader said it is too early to pass judgment on the performance of President Tinubu, adding that every Nigerian leader would hear the same criticism, and therefore, urged Tinubu not to worry.

He however, appealed to Nigerians to give the President a chance as he noted that he is doing his best.

Asked about his impressions of the hardship in the country, he said: “Well, I was telling him that no Nigerian leader can get there and will not have all the reports of what is being said about him. But certainly, there’s no doubt from what one hears and what one sees on the various media etc, I think the government is trying their best to deal with the various problems of the country but with Nigerians?

“Don’t worry, you will get criticised but people who get there know better than you know.

“I think all what one can say is that Nigerians, we’ve got to give the president time to get things really done. And it is too early to sort of say absolute result, perfect result will be achieved now. That is my opinion.

“I know and if I can remember, when I was fighting the war, I was told I was too slow and that probably Nigeria cannot make it and that we should now seek for discussion. Well, did we do it or not? They probably do not know the problem underground. So, that is where we are.”

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