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General Yakubu Gowon THE SUPREME COMMANDER

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General Yakubu Jack Gowon, military dictator of Nigeria for nine eventlul years (1966-1975), was a benevolent but absolute ruler who saw his country through the throes and agonies of a devastating civil war which lasted for three years. After the war, he settled down to enjoy the fruits of his labour.

The tragedy was that he stayed in office for too long, much longer than when the applause of his appreciative compatriots lasted. He paid dearly for this as he was dlisplaced by a coup d’eat engineered by his subordinates in July 1975, Today, he is still remembered, if not too fondly, as the man who defeated the secessionists and kept Nigeria in one piece through the dark days of a fratricidal war.

The author gives an account of his subject in this flowing narration andvadopts a combative and scathing approach in his appraisal of a ruler whose country was blessed by natures bounties and was expected to use the fabulous oil iches of the seventies to take Nigeria to higher heights in the mould of the Asian Tigers (Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and Taiwan) but failed to do so and was quite contented with a lackluster stewardship.

Gowon’s mediocre leadership epitomized Nigeria’s lost opportunities and the unending travails of an endowed nation where the majority is oppressed and the opportunists have comered the lion’s share of the nation’s resources. The author concludes that instead of using Nigeria’s oil wealth to build the foundation and infrastructure of a modern and industrialized economy, Gowon frittered it away and his country paid dearly for it in a perpetual tale of squandering of riches by his successors.

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