One is nine years older than the other but there is a bond between them that seems so thick, belying the age difference, going by the wording of the letter.
That is the letter below from an ideologue and technocrat of the Progressives camp in the Second Republic, Engineer Muhammad Abba-Gana, former FCT Minister in Obasanjo first term, 1999 t0 2003 to General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s war time military leader who turned 85 last week.
Well, aside from a moral worldview, they both went to the once famous Barewa College, Zaria. How much they interacted there is not immediately clear but the Engineer’s deference to the soldier is self-evident in the letter published in full below:
ENGR. MUHAMMED ABBA-GANA, CON
92, CIRCULAR ROAD, G.R.A, MAIDUGURI, BORNO STATE
19TH October 2019
To: General Yakubu Gowon, GCFR
Former Head of State, Federal Republic of Nigeria
CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE ON YOUR 85TH BIRTHDAY
Our Dear beloved General Gowon, GCFR.
On behalf of my entire family, I want to join the millions of your admirers and well-wishers to rejoice with you and extend our congratulations on your 85th birthday.
- Your good intentions, good and patriotic actions/deeds and humane/kind character
are the hallmark of your Godly personality. You left behind an unequalled and lasting legacy of a united Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- After Lord Lugard’s amalgamation of 1914, we are lucky and grateful that God used
you to strengthen and keep Nigeria one and united, like in a referendum, in the form of
- At the end of the unfortunate Biafran war of Nigerian unity, your famous declaration
of ‘no victor no vanquished’ provided the national and political framework for the reintegration of the large and enterprising Igbo ethnic group from the Biafran side into the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- Your reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation program integrated the Igbo
ethnic group back to their former status in the Nigerian political economy.
- Following your patriotic/nationalistic footsteps, just 9 years after the end of the
unfortunate Biafran war, an Igbo man, Dr. Alex Ekweme, became the Vice President of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And soon after, the Biafran leader, Ojukwu, was
pardoned by the then President Shehu Shagari; thus concluding the
reconciliation/reintegration of the Igbo ethnic group politically, economically & socially.
- All this was made possible by the excellent and states manly framework and roadmap
you provided after the surrender of Biafran soldiers.
- This is the reason why the Good Lord has kept you all along for us. At the age of 85
years you look like 50 years old. Your good counsel and worthy examples are still
needed. Therefore we pray to God our Creator and Sustainer, to give you many more
years in good health. Amin.
Engr. Muhammed Abba-Gana, CON
Former FCT Minister